CHICAGO – “Armenians are an ancient people tracing their roots to 2700 B.C.”: this is how the autobiographical book called Throw it in the Sea by Samuel Der-Yeghiayan, which came out earlier this year, begins. The highly successful American federal judge dedicated the beginning part of the biography to highlighting his ethnic roots, the history of the Armenian people, the Genocide of 1915 and the story of the survival of his ancestors. “Son, do good and throw it in the sea,” Lydia Der-Yeghiayan, the judge’s mother, used to say. Her precious advice became this book’s title.
Born in Aleppo, Syria, in 1952, Samuel Der-Yeghiayan grew up in Beirut and migrated to the US in 1971. After completing his B.A. and M.A. degrees in American schools, Yeghiayan became a clerk for a judge in New Hampshire and served in various capacities with the Justice Department’s Chicago District. In 2003, the US Senate unanimously confirmed Der-Yeghiayan as Federal Judge for Northern Illinois.
In partnership with the Armenian Bar Association, the Armenian Consulate to Chicago honored Yeghiayan’s service at an event organized at Chicago’s Union League Club.
Prof. Alice Kelikian was the event’s moderator, while Judge Amy St. Eve, the Vice-Chair of the Armenian Bar Association Raffi Semerjian, and the Very Rev. Aren Jebejian of the local Armenian church delivered remarks. Oscar Tatosian, the honorary counsul of Armenia in Chicago, referred to an expression he had heard from Judge Der-Yeghiayan at another event: “I cannot judge without faith.” Coming from a family of clergy (which explains the prefix Der of his surname), the Armenian-American judge consistently highlighted the important role of the Christian faith in his life and career.
Yeghiayan’s biography is available on Amazon.
The following video segment presents speeches by the invitees and the honorable Judge Der-Yeghiayan himself.