New Britain Herald, CT
29 Oct. 2004

Chamber to honor Harry Mazadoorian


By WILLIAM F. MILLERICK, Special to The Herald 10/29/2004

There are people who lead magnificent lives, in the purest sense of the
word. They inspire loyal friendship, they contribute to advancing
society and through their relentless optimism and sharing of their
innate talents, they inspire others to do the same. In short, their
deeds and words bring out the best in people.

For 20 years, the New Britain Chamber of Commerce has presented a
Distinguished Community Service Award at its annual meeting. This year,
on the celebration of two decades of recognizing leadership, the
recipient is someone who has lead just such a magnificent life.

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Harry Mazadoorian, attorney, professor, author, community and political
leader, is this year's Distinguished Community Service honoree. From
the day we announced this year's award, the enthusiasm and genuine warm
good wishes have been terrific. And that is as it should be.

Harry Mazadoorian moves easily in many circles, some interconnected,
some not. He has friends from his youth as a student in New Britain
schools, a Herald carrier and graduate of New Britain High School. He
has many close friends from his days at Yale College and Yale Law
School. He has friends from his days in New Britain politics and his
time as Common Council majority leader. He has friends from the local
Armenian community and church.

The list goes on and on because Harry Mazadoorian's life hasn't been
two acts, it's been in many acts. A few years ago, he was the chief
writer and the editor of what is nationally recognized as the single
best book on dispute resolution through mediation, the "Mediation
Practice Handbook." There is nowhere near enough space here to go into
his later-life career as perhaps the pre-eminent national authority on
dispute resolution, but know this, as a Distinguished Professor of
Dispute Resolution at Quinnipiac Law School, he has been invited to
speak and headline at conferences around the world.

As this alternative to high-cost litigation has continued to gain
acceptance, much of it through Mazadoorian's work, it is increasingly
being looked at as an important component of tort reform. Nationally
recognized, with friends in the highest of places, he never forgot
home, and home has never forgotten him.

Today, as he serves as chairman of New Britain General Hospital's board
of directors his time is also spent on the American Savings Foundation
and the Banknorth boards. In the recent past, he's been involved with
many community organizations, from Klingberg Family Centers, the
Visiting Nurses Association, the Red Cross, Family Services and others.
Many of them have called to secure reservations for the Nov. 18 dinner
at the CCSU Student Center ballroom. Information on the event, which
runs from 5 to 8 p.m., is available by contacting the Chamber at (860)
229-1665 or www.newbritainchamber.com.

Through every phase of his life, Harry Mazadoorian has always been what
many refer to as "a New Britain guy." A New Britain guy is someone who,
when you run into them on the street or at a function, or have lunch,
talks about the city's possibilities, about how history can positively
impact the future, about what's right with New Britain. In short, a
"New Britain guy" is a booster and always will be.

I first met Harry Mazadoorian when I was editorial writer at The Herald
and you could see, instantly, that this was someone who looked for the
greatest good in the city and the people who worked and lived here.
People like Harry Mazadoorian made others proud to be here. His roots
are here and they'll always be here, no matter how many notables he is
friends with or appears with.

A lot of people know that Mazadoorian is a very close friend of Fay
Vincent, the former commissioner of Major League Baseball. "We talk
almost every day," he told me recently, when I pressed him.
Mazadoorian, Vincent and the late Bart Giammatti were classmates at
Yale together. Mazadoorian knew Vincent and Giammatti independently of
each other and eventually, those two met, essentially forming a trio.

That trio was tragically broken with Giammatti's shockingly sudden
death of a massive heart attack in 1989, one week after he handed Pete
Rose a lifetime suspension from baseball for gambling. When Giammatti
died, Vincent, who was his deputy commissioner, rose to the
commissioner's post. Mazadoorian, as loyal a Red Sox fan as you'll
find, was Vincent's frequent guest at the World Series and baseball
events over the years, which meant putting in an awful lot of time
watching the Yankees.

"This is a special week for me," he said yesterday. "I'm very flattered
by this award and with the Red Sox finally winning, that's a good
week."

Harry Mazadoorian walks in many circles, local, national, athletic,
intellectual. He is welcome and respected in all of them. In every
circle he enters, home and away, he represents New Britain and he
represents this great city with a assured dignity and unmeasured
affection that is worth emulating.

I thought it was revealing, how he described a dinner with Yogi Berra.
"Bill, you'd have thought he was a New Britain guy. He was like 200
other people you know in New Britain, quiet, hard-working, modest,
successful."

I suspect Harry Mazadoor-ian got along pretty well with Yogi that
night. It sounds like they're a lot alike.

William F. Millerick is president of the New Britain Chamber of
Commerce. He may be reached at [email protected]