SAN JOSE, Calif. — May 4 was a landmark day for San Jose State University and Armenian people. Dr. Mary Papazian was inaugurated as 30th president of San Jose State University (SJSU). She is first Armenian woman president of a California State University and only the third woman president of SJSU.
The inauguration event was filled with pomp and ceremony on the SJSU campus in the shadows of historic Tower Building and the Martin Luther King Jr. Library. Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese, was represented by Fr. Datev Harutyunian, pastor of St. Andrew Armenian Church of Cupertino.
Harutyunian’s remarks were poignant and memorable, reminding all of “the value of education as the most powerful tool that society has to ensure its perpetuation in the present and its prosperity and happiness in the future.” He acknowledged Papazian’s “outreach to the community has been exemplary and it illustrates (her) understanding that in today’s world, educational institutions and the public sphere must work hand-in-hand.” In closing Harutyunian offered a final blessing upon Papazian and her loved ones.
There were many dignitaries and noted educators who addressed the crowd and showered upon Papazian their well wishes and accolades.
Papazian addressed the crowd at the inauguration, speaking about her Armenian heritage from her grandparent’s Genocide stories to her parents’ commitment to being Armenian and passing on their love of education to their children and her mother’s passion to being an educator at an Armenian school in Los Angeles. Papazian noted that her family grounding set her on the course of education and her family, specifically her husband Dennis, have been great supporters of her endeavors in her career in academics and academic administration.