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Haigazian University (Armenian: Հայկազեան Համալսարան; Arabic: الجامعة الهايكازيان) was founded in 1955 in Beirut, Lebanon. It offers programs leading to Bachelor's degrees in the Arts and Sciences, as well as Master's degrees in the Arts. All degrees from Haigazian are recognized by both the Lebanese government and the Association of International Colleges and Universities. It is supported by the Armenian Evangelical community, and was established primarily to meet the needs of the large Lebanese-Armenian population. However, the University is open to all students, regardless of race, nationality, or creed, and has educated men and women from all sections of Lebanese society.
Haigazian University is named in honor of Dr. Armenag Haigazian, former headmaster of the Jenanian Apostolic Institute of Konya, Turkey. Dr. Haigazian was a highly respected educator who received his Ph.D. from Yale University and returned to Turkey to serve his Armenian compatriots. When the "ethnic cleansing" of the Armenians began, Dr. Haigazian had the opportunity to escape to the United States, but he chose to stay and continue his ministry. Later, he, along with the Armenian intellectuals, was rounded up to be driven to the Syrian desert. Dr. Haigazian died on the way in the prison of Kharpert in 1921. Concurrently, eight Armenian colleges were also destroyed in Turkey. Although these realities of education and service were brought to an end, the dream continued in the minds of Dr. Haigazian’s descendants and others. The Mehagian family (Mary Mehagian and Florence Mehagian-Guertmenian) of Phoenix, Arizona, relatives of Dr. Haigazian, donated capital through the AMAA and worked hand in hand with Stephen Philibosian to get Haigazian College started.
Haigazian University was established in 1955 as a liberal arts institution of higher learning using English as the language of instruction. It offers the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees. All three are recognized by the Lebanese government and the Association of International Colleges and Universities.
Dedicated to excellence in the liberal arts and professional education, the University strives to prepare men and women who are inspired to serve with purpose, imagination, and generosity in their communities while conscious of living in an interdependent and multicultural world. Haigazian University, which is supported by the Armenian Evangelical community, is open to all students who are academically qualified regardless of race, nationality, or creed. Through the close relationship between faculty and students, the institution has left a successful track record of graduating informed and open-minded students who are dedicated to truth, freedom and service. The university also sent up the first rocket in the Arab world.
- Faculty of Business, Administration and Economics
- Faculty of Humanities
- Faculty of Sciences
- Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences
The University was founded on October 17, 1955, by the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East (UAECNE) and the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) as a liberal arts college to assist in the preparation of teachers and pastors.
Prior to this date, the Armenian Evangelical community of Beirut, to complement its high schools, had established two post-secondary educational entities: the Teacher’s Training Institute, which was housed in the library of the Central High School and operated from 1948-51, and the Armenian Evangelical College, which held a Freshman Arts and Sciences program under the sponsorship of the First Armenian Evangelical Church of Beirut. These two entities merged in 1951 forming a Freshman Arts and Sciences plus a Sophomore Arts program, and they continued to serve the Armenian Community until 1955, when Haigazian College was established. Haigazian College was originally designed to function as a junior college offering two years of university-level education. However, a demand for upper-division classes encouraged the institution to develop four-year programs.
Haigazian operated under its original name of “College” until 1991. In keeping with Near Eastern nomenclature, the name was changed to Haigazian University College in 1992. On December 28, 1996, the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education of Lebanon issued decree number 9657, which authorized the institution to change its name to Haigazian University.
Dr. John Markarian, the first president of the University, served until June 1966. During the years 1967 to 1971, Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian held this position; then Dr. Markarian returned to the post until his retirement in June 1982. Subsequently, the presidency was held by Dr. Verne H. Fletcher until February 1985. Miss Wilma Cholakian, the administrative dean, was then responsible for the operation of the University until August 30, 1995. Dr. John Khanjian served as president from September 1, 1995, until August 1, 2002. On September 1, 2002, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian became president.
When the University opened in 1955, there were 43 students enrolled. Student enrollment reached 740 before the start of the civil disturbances in Lebanon in 1975. The present enrollment is approximately 650 with a faculty and staff of 125. So far, the university has granted the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in various fields to more than 2,200 students.
The university was first located in the Webb Building, a ten-room house converted for college use. Later, a seven-story building was added. This building was called the Mehagian Academic Centre in honor of Mr. and Mrs. A. S. Mehagian, whose financial support made its construction possible. A grant from Mr. Stephen P. Mugar enabled the university to acquire a beautiful historic structure, subsequently named the Mugar Building, to honor the donor’s parents.
In 1987, due to the war, the University moved to the Christian Medical Center in the Ashrafia district, and classes continued as usual. On March 27, 1996, the Board of Managers decided that the University should return to its original campus on Rue Mexique, Kantari. On February 16, 1997, the renovation of the former campus began. On October 6, 1997, classes resumed in the renovated and revitalized Kantari campus to the delight of students and the community at large.
Early in July 2001, began the construction of a fourth building on the Mugar property which has a media center, a board room, and faculty offices. This new facility became operational in October 2001.
In 2003, Haigazian University started to use the whole 7 floors of the south wing of the adjacent AEC, according to a non-rent agreement between the administration and the AEC trustees.
Empowered by its newly acquired authorization from the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education to offer graduate programs, since 1995, the institution has started four M.A. programs: Educational Administration and Supervision, General Psychology, Clinical Psychology, and Masters in Business Administration. Through its 50 years of history, Haigazian University served Lebanon by empowering its valuable human resources for a better life and service.
Haigazian University offers quality education at a fair and affordable cost. The University also prepares educated, professional citizens with a sense of social responsibility and leadership skills that empower them to rise to the challenges of the future.
Armenian Weekly Article
Only Armenian University in Diaspora Celebrates 55th Anniversary
By: Weekly Staff
Nov 10 2010
55 Years of Unwavering Service for Many Generations, and Always in the Heart of the People
In the heart of the Mediterranean city of Beirut and in the hearts of current and former students all around the globe lies Haigazian University. Located in a prime business and social area of the Lebanese capital, this jewel has shined for the past 55 years as the only university with an Armenian identity in the entire Armenian Diaspora.
The loving family atmosphere, the exceptional quality and standard of education, and the dedicated faculty and staff make Haigazian a warm and nurturing second home for the hundreds of students passing through its gates every day. Haigazian is open to all students who are academically qualified regardless of race, nationality, or creed, and it has become renowned for graduating open-minded and dedicated young men and women that actively serve their community.
It all began on Oct. 17, 1955, when the Union of Armenian Churches in the Near East (UAECNE) and the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) established Haigazian as a liberal arts college to educate future teachers and pastors. Named in honor of the highly respected pastor, educator, philosopher, and a martyr of the Armenian Genocide, Dr. Armenag Haigazian, the university with its single building first opened its doors to 43 bright and eager young minds.
Haigazian University has prospered and grown over the years, transforming into an exemplary educational institution which this year serves a record number of 800 undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a fully qualified faculty of around 100 and a staff of 50. The academic standards of Haigazian are among the top in the country, with a total of 30 undergraduate and 13 graduate majors offered in the faculties of business administration and economics, sciences, humanities, and social and behavioral sciences. Haigazian University today occupies six buildings over an area of 6,500 sq. meters in a central district of Beirut. The recent acquisition of the Heritage building, which is a preserved architectural edifice, is another aspect of the university’s continued growth and serves a dual administrative and academic purpose.
As a liberal arts university, Haigazian focuses on providing its students with a well-rounded education, respecting a balance between academic and extracurricular activities with the help of its numerous clubs, teams, and societies. Haigazian promotes these clubs on the basis that they build self-esteem, help students acquire new skills, strengthen their character, cultivate their creativity and spirituality, and in general prepare them to become future leaders in their communities.
At Haigazian, every student counts. With an average of 20 students per class, the best personal care and attention is offered to each individual. One-on-one personal relations between faculty and students ensure that students get the most out of their educational experience, a unique aspect of Haigazian, rarely found in other universities in Lebanon.
The highly active student life at Haigazian includes a large variety of clubs that cater to different interests. The Arts and Crafts Club and the Photography Club are there for those with artistic inclinations, showing their works in exhibitions annually. The Actors Club and the Dance Club each put on a major production once a year. For those who want to serve the community, the Desert Streams Club is a philanthropic group of students that helps those in need, and the Environmental Club is dedicated to making the world a greener, healthier place to live in. The Social Activities Club plans social events where students get to know each other and establish friendships. Haigazian has its own student newspaper, the Herald, which is a place for students to express their views. The athletic program includes basketball, football, table tennis, tennis, swimming, martial arts, extreme sports, and chess. All these activities help students feel more connected to their university. Haigazian is proud of its 3,000 distinguished alumni spread all over the world and holding major positions in the private and public sectors, in the various fields of business, education, and media, among others.
Haigazian University contributes to the broader Lebanese and Armenian communities by publishing various books in Armenian, English, and Arabic, and by increasingly acting as a central community hub in organizing and sponsoring academic, cultural, and social events, extending its efforts all the way to Armenia. On the occasion of its 55th anniversary, the university is organizing a series of conferences throughout the year, covering topics from education to information technology, to real estate market and hospitality services in Lebanon. The series will culminate with an Armenological symposium, jointly organized with the Yerevan State University.
Another vital aspect of Haigazian’s growth is related to its budget and ever growing financial needs. Haigazian operates on a yearly budget of $5.5 million. Additionally, it grants a total of $1.2 million in financial aid programs. These scholarships are the tangible reality of the fundraising efforts and donations carried out by the AMAA, the Stephen Philibosian Foundation, and various other foundations such as the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Fund, the Robert Boghossian and Sons Foundation, the Lincy Foundation, the Flora Family Foundation, the Common Global Ministries Board, Armenian Patriotic Unions, the USAID, the Board of Trustees, the Women’s Auxiliary, and friends of the university.
Through these aid programs, students with financial difficulties who otherwise could not receive a higher education have the opportunity to go to university, receive their diploma and become well prepared to start out their lives in the real world.
The most recent program is the USAP (University Students Assistance Program) $7.4 million grant, primarily funded by the USAID (United States Agency for International Development). This aid program extended over a period of five years will choose students from the public schools of all the 26 districts of Lebanon and cover all their expenses from the time they prepare to enter Haigazian until they graduate, including tuition, dorms, books, and petty cash. This project is just one of the ways in which the university benefits from cooperating with other organizations. Haigazian University has signed memoranda of understanding with many other institutions, such as the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) in the U.S. Through this agreement, Haigazian will yearly sponsor the full tuition and stay of two students from Karabagh and Javakhk region each. With the Hrant Dink Foundation in Istanbul, Haigazian will soon publish Hrant Dink’s book in Arabic. The university has also signed agreement with the Lebanese University for faculty exchange, with Vivacell-MTS, the leading telecom company in Armenia, for students internships, the AUA (American University of Armenia), and the Yerevan State University.
Haigazian University has been setting an example in the field of higher education for the past 55 years, applying its motto of truth, freedom, and service. It aspires to continue to shine brightly, serving the community and nurturing the minds and hearts of future generations for many years to come.