SCSU president Mary Papazian proud of Armenian Heritage

September 29, 2012 - 12:36 AMT


PanARMENIAN.Net - Mary A. Papazian, who was inaugurated as the
president of Southern Connecticut State University, will seek to
ensure that her university is a highly significant player in the
higher education landscape of Connecticut and will prepare students
for a knowledge-based economy in the years ahead.

`Public universities like Southern (Connecticut State University) must
lead the way in showing that what we can accomplish here is vitally
important to the future of our society,' Papazian said.

`We must make it clear to the public, to the business community, and
to the political establishment that investing in an institution like
Southern is not only an investment in the students who attend the
university, but also by extension, it is an investment in the whole
community and - and this isn't overstating it - in the very future of
America.'

Papazian outlined her vision for SCSU during her inauguration Friday,
Sept 28, held at the university's Lyman Center for the Performing
Arts. She is the 11th president of the school in its storied 119-year
history. She is the second woman to become president at Southern,
following Cheryl J. Norton, who served from 2004 to 2010. She is also
believed to be the first Armenian- American woman to lead a U.S.
university, says a press release received by PanARMENIAN.Net

Lewis J. Robinson Jr., chairman of the state Board of Regents for
Higher Education, presided over the ceremony and administered the
investiture charge to Papazian.

Guests also included the Rev. Khajag Barsamian, archbishop of the
Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, and Rouben
Mirzakhanian, rector of the Armenian State Pedagogical University in
Yerevan, Armenia.

Papazian, 53, is an accomplished scholar, particularly with regard to
British literature. Among her other interests are Armenian history and
culture.

She and her husband, Dennis Papazian, have two daughters, Ani and
Marie. They reside in Woodbridge.

`Together, we will work to ensure that Southern continues to develop
into an outstanding, comprehensive, public university of significant
value to the local community, the state that supports us, and indeed,
our nation at large,' Papazian said.

Speaking of her Armenian heritage, she said: `In the United States,
the Armenians form a small, tightly-knit community, primarily born out
of the tragic genocide of the early 20th century in which three
quarters of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire were
annihilated,' Papazian said.

`Our roots as Armenians lie in a society and rich culture that span
thousands of years. The King James Bible says that the Ark of Noah
landed on the mountains of Armenia (Genesis 8:4), and I might suppose
that in one sense all of us are Armenian. Because of our shared past,
we all of Armenian ancestry have common interests and a strong
connection to each other.'