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.