Golfers putting at the 2022 AGBU Golf Day in Metro Detroit

Metro Detroit’s AGBU Special Projects Group Holds 50th Anniversary Golf Outing

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WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. — Monday, August 8, 2022 was a special day for the Armenian community of Metro Detroit. Pine Lake Country Club in West Bloomfield was host to the annual Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Special Projects Golf Day, to raise funds for the AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian School in Southfield.

Members of Metro Detroit AGBU Special Projects Group, 2022

The committee, headed for the fifth year in a row by Brian Thomas and Matthew Najarian, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the annual event, which is one of the longest-running charitable golf outings in the State of Michigan, and has raised over 6 million dollars for the school during the last half-century.

The Golf Day included breakfast, lunch, mezza, and a banquet dinner for the attendees, at which Richard Dickran Kurjian spoke on behalf of the AGBU School Board and Brian Thomas spoke on behalf of the Special Projects Group.

Some of the younger golfers

Edward Mardigian, Jr. read a letter from Richard Manoogian, chairman emeritus of Masco Corporation and son of the school’s founder Alex Manoogian. Richard Manoogian is the only surviving member of the original Special Projects Group from the inception of the golf outing.

The AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian school was the brainchild of industrialist and philanthropist Alex Manoogian, who emigrated from Smyrna, Turkey and made his career in Detroit as the founder of Masco Corporation. It was one of the first Armenian day schools in the US. Beginning as a kindergarten in the St. John’s Armenian Church complex in Southfield in 1969, the school was moved to its own full-service building in the early 1970s at which point the golf outing was initiated in 1972 to raise money to support the school. It remains the only Armenian day school in the Midwest and the only Armenian day school in the US, outside of California, which runs through 12th grade.

Bob Simonian, member of Special Projects group, greets attendees at registration desk

Since the school was chartered by Central Michigan University in 1995 and became a charter school under the auspices of the State of Michigan, the Special Projects Group acts as an auxiliary fundraiser for improvements to the school.

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The Special Projects group is composed of 45 Armenian professionals and businessmen from the Metro Detroit area, who enlist family, friends, business associates and fellow Armenians to buy tickets for the golf outing.

Dr. Edward Bayleran, a long-time supporter of the golf outing and Special Projects member, poses in golf cart

Approximately 150 golfers participated in the Golf Day, and the number of attendees expanded to approximately 175 for the banquet.

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