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Benefactor Gregory Melikian Recognized At Arizona University `Salute to Service'

US Fed News

TEMPE, AZ - When football players from Arizona State University and Washington State University met head-to-head on Nov. 17 at Sun Devil Stadium, another field of battle was remembered - World War II. Gregory Melikian, the namesake and longtime benefactor of ASU's Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies, was honored along with all veterans who have served the nation, at the "Salute-to-Service" celebration as part of the game's half-time events. In WWII, as a young sergeant with the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces staff headquartered in France in 1945, Melikian was the telegraph operator under command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. At 3:30 p.m. on May 7, 1945, it was Melikian who was chosen to announce the unconditional surrender of Germany and the end of WWII in Europe. The original 1945 copy of the telegraph was donated by the Melikians to the ASU Libraries. For his unique role, Melikian was recently inducted as Chevalier (Knight) into the French Legion of Honor. He was recommended for this award, the highest decoration in France, by French President Francois Hollande. "I am happy to accept this great honor from the President and the Republic of France," said Commander Melikian. "In honor of all veterans, particularly those that did not come home." In addition to his new status as Chevalier, Melikian is an Honorary Commander with Luke Air Force Base's 56th and 944th Fighter Wings. Melikian's wartime decorations include the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Meritorious Unit Award. The Melikian Center is a research unit in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and home to a range of projects that support critical language training and global engagement. Their research and training programs are funded by grants from the Departments of State, Defense, and Education, as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development. In addition to Project GO, the center's Critical Languages Institute offers intensive language training in the less commonly taught languages of Albanian, Armenian, Russian, Persian, Polish, Tatar, Ukrainian, Uzbek, and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian. The Melikian Center also offers a baccalaureate certificate program in Russian and East European Studies. The center will host an international symposium on Feb. 7-9, 2013, titled "Post-Atheism: Religion, Society, and Culture in Post-Communist Eastern Europe and Eurasia." Scholars will be coming to the ASU symposium from Bosnia, Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Herzegovina, Kosovo, Poland, and Lithuania, as well as from institutions in the U.S. and Canada. Most recently, the Melikian Center received $1.3 million from Higher Education for Development, a USAID funding agency for institutions of higher learning, to conduct a Women's Leadership Project in Armenia. The project, "Advancing Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Armenia," will be directed by Professors Victor Agadjanian from the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, Mary Margaret Fonow, director of the School of Social Transformation, and Stephen Batalden, director of the Melikian Center. Commander Melikian resides in Phoenix with his wife of 60 years, Emma. The owners of the historic Hotel San Carlos in downtown Phoenix, the couple is well known for their philanthropic efforts in education and the arts in Arizona. The Melikians' four children have all attended Arizona State University.

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Mr. & Mrs. Gregory Melikian Establish Million-Dollar Armenian Studies Program at Arizona State University


TUCSON, AZ - Mr. Gregory and Mrs. Emma Melikian of this city recently established the Million Dollar Melikian fund for Armenian Language and Cultural Study at Arizona State University.

The announcement of the establishment of the fund was made public last month when His Holiness Karekin II paid a short visit to the city. During the visit, a proclamation jointly signed by Lattie F. Coor, President of the University, and Stephen K. Batalden, Director of the university's Critical Languages Institute, was read, in which they disclosed that, as of the year 2002, the Critical Language Institute of the University will offer courses in Armenian language and culture.

His Holiness blessed the couple for their generosity as the audience of 400 local Armenians and Arizona University officials witnessed the event.

Arizona State University has an enrollment of 46,000 students.

Mr. Gregory J. Melikian and Mrs. Emma Melikian, former residents of Kew Garden, NY, are prominent leaders of the Armenian community of Tucson, where they have been living for the past 32 years.

Mr. Melikian, a lawyer, is a former owner of the San Carlos Hotel and a founder of Great Western Realty Co. He is a past president of Arizona Opera Company. He has served on the board of directors for Channel 8 KAET and has worked with historic site preservation, both in the Valley and in Tucson.

Gregg is related to Drs. Paul and Joyce Barsam of Boston. Mrs. Barsam is currently a Trustee at Tufts University, with her husband serving as President of the Armenian Library and Museum of America (ALMA) of Watertown, MA.

Gregory's wife, Emma Melikian, has been a prominent leader in the metropolitan arts community. She is the founder and president of "ThankYouAmerica Foundation," an organization devoted to the support of immigrants and their positive contributions to American life. She has been awarded the George Washington Medal of Honor from the Freedom Foundation of Valley Forge. The national society of the Daughters of American Revolution presented her with the Certificate for Outstanding Community Services. She is the sister of Dr. Nikit Ordjanian of Flushing, NY.

As leaders of the Armenian community in the southwest, the Melikians have played a significant role in the development of the Armenian Church in Scottsdale and its Educational and Social Center.

The community has a cultural center that is used once a month for church services. The center recently completed a second floor, which serves the community as a library and computer center.