NEW YORK — On Friday, May 6, the Eastern Diocese and the Knights of Vartan hosted a farewell reception in honor of Dr. Mary Papazian, the current president of Southern Connecticut State University, who is leaving for California this summer to serve as the new president of San Jose State University.
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, presided over the event at the Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium. Dr. Papazian received a pontifical encyclical and the “Sts. Sahag and Mesrob” medal from Karekin II, as well as a medal from Armenia’s Ministry of Diaspora.
“We are proud to know such a woman of character and substance, who exemplifies the dignity of a life devoted to learning, patriotism, family, and faith,” Archbishop Barsamian said. “Spend even a small amount of time with her, and you become aware of her extraordinary qualities: her keen intelligence; her personal warmth and humanity; her drive and appreciation for excellence.”
Papazian has served as president at Southern Connecticut State University for the past four years. In addition to her many achievements at SCSU, she had the distinction of being the first Armenian-American woman to serve as president of an American university.
Papazian will be returning to her roots in California, where she was born and raised in the heart of an active and faithful Armenian family. She is the wife of Dr. Dennis Papazian — professor emeritus and founding director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and himself a lifelong member of the church and stalwart leader of the Eastern Diocese.