Joyce J. Kolligian


LONGBOAT KEY, Fla. — Joyce (Juskalian) Kolligian, executive director of the Simmons Leadership Conference for the past 14 years, died on June 11 at the age of 76.

She was the daughter of the late Mehran and Queenie (Tekmejian) Juskalian. She was married for 38 years to her beloved husband, Dr. Michael Kolligian Jr. who predeceased her in 1998.

Raised in Medford, Mass. Kolligian earned an A.A. degree from Colby Junior College in 1955. She worked briefly for Eastern Airlines before marrying and raising her family in Winchester. At the age of 42, Kolligian returned to college and earned a B.A. degree summa cum laude from Simmons College in 1987 and an MBA degree with distinction from Simmons School of Management in 1989. At age 49, she established J.K. Carlyle Associates, a boutique marketing and communication consultancy and served as a consultant to the annual Simmons Leadership Conference from 1993 to 1998. From the year 2000 to the present, Kolligian served as the conference’s Executive Director. Under her leadership the event grew from a small regional gathering of Simmons School of Management alumni, which annually drew 150 women, to a nationally recognized premier leadership conference with over 3,000 attendees.

Kolligian was the recipient of the Rappaport Award for Outstanding Leadership from Simmons School of Management, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Colby Sawyer College in 1997 and most recently on May 11, 2013 was awarded the Susan Colgate Cleveland Medal for Distinguished Service from Colby Sawyer, the college’s highest honor.

Among her volunteer and philanthropy activities, Kolligian served for over 17 years as a member of the board of trustees of Colby-Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire where she led both the development and marketing committees. As part of their enduring commitment to make education possible for more students, Kolligian and her late husband established scholarships at both Colby-Sawyer and Middlebury colleges. In 2009, Mrs. Kolligian established a Distinguished Professorship in the Fine and Performing Arts at Colby-Sawyer College.

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Kolligian was an active member of Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church in Cambridge, and served as a member of its Trust Fund Committee. In loving memory of her late husband, Kolligian and her family established the Dr. Michael and Joyce Kolligian Speaker Series in 2000 which most recently brought CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen to Holy Trinity in May, 2013.

An avid golfer, Kolligian was a member of the Winchester Country Club and the Longboat Key Club, where she achieved the distinction of scoring a hole in one in March, 2008.

Kolligian leaves a son, Michael Kolligian III, a daughter, Valerie Kolligian Thayer and a son-in-law, Harvey H. Thayer, Jr. She also leaves her two beloved granddaughters, Caroline and Olivia Thayer. Kolligian was predeceased by her brother, Edward M. Juskalian.

Memorial contributions may be made in her name to Holy Trinity Armenian Church, 145 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA., or to Colby Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire, attention Joyce J. Kolligian scholarship fund.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Giragosian Funeral Home, Watertown.


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