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.”