Excitement filled the ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel on November 15 when organizers and guests gathered to honor Dr. Mihran Agbabian and George R. Phillips, Sr., Esq. at the AMAA-Haigazian University Celebratory Banquet co-chaired by Joyce Abdulian and Ken Kevorkian. Prayers were offered, anthems and music were sung, videos were shown, and genuine tributes were paid to these two men who are champions of the AMAA, Haigazian University, and a myriad of worthy institutions within the Armenian Community. Both honorees are former AMAA Board Members.
the 1988 earthquake and charged everyone who travels to Armenia to visit the American University of Armenia. Dr. Agbabian, a distinguished graduate of the American University of Beirut, Cal Tech, and UC Berkeley, is an eminent authority in seismic engineering and the founding President and President Emeritus of AUA. He is also a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. This former Dean of Engineering at USC, and past Vice President of the AMAA, recollected working with George Phillips in support of various organizations, large and small, and said he was “grateful to God and for the challenge to serve.”
He was named the C & E Merdinian School “Man of the Year” in 2007 and was also recognized as “Man of the Year” by the AGBU for his service to the Armenian Community in So. Calif. He praised the AMAA, founded 96 years ago, and Haigazian University for their foundations of faith and spoke of the Christian values underscored at Haigazian University, stressing that “every person can make a difference through their actions.” A Korean War veteran, Mr. Phillips, in his response, remembered the attack on Pearl Harbor when he was 13 and indicated that Armenian history seemed to be repeating itself from 100 years ago.
The honorees were presented with framed certificates by the co-chairs who had orchestrated a memorable event. Their supportive wives, Elizabeth Agbabian and Suzie Phillips, are founding/continuing members of the Haigazian University Women’s Auxiliary LA and the AMAA Child and Orphan Care Committee.
The recently installed Executive Director/CEO of the Armenia Missionary Association of America, Zaven Khanjian, clearly remembered his family’s arrival in the U.S. from the Middle East in 1979 as a direct result of war and unrest. He spoke compassionately about the AMAA and its “mission of rescue.”
At the podium, West Coast AMAA Executive Director Levon Filian put it this way: “A good cause and a good committee results in complete success!”
Haigazian University President Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, who had traveled 7,000 miles from Beirut, paid tribute to the honorees and emphasized the importance of being positive examples to the world. He called Haigazian constructively unique and thanked Dr. Agbabian, Mr. Phillips, and everyone in the room for supporting Haigazian.
Arriving from Armenia just minutes before being called to the microphone, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian brought regards from the Western Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church and expressed his wholehearted congratulations to the worthy honorees and organizations.