CSU Chancellor Timothy White places a medallion over Mary Papazian during her inauguration at San Jose State University on Thursday, May 4, 2017. Papazian is the university\’s 30th president.

SAN JOSE — May 4, 2017 was a landmark day for San Jose State University and Armenian people. Dr. Mary Papazian was inaugurated as 30th President of San Jose State University. She is first Armenian woman president of a California State University and only the third woman president of SJSU.

The inauguration event was filled with pomp and ceremony on the SJSU campus in the shadows of historic Tower Building and the Martin Luther King Jr. Library. His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese, was represented by Archpriest Fr. Datev Harutyunian, Pastor of St. Andrew Armenian Church of Cupertino.

He conveyed Archbishop Derderian’s congratulations to Dr. Papazian on this well deserved position as President of San Jose State University. Fr. Harutyunian’s remarks were poignant and memorable, reminding all “the value of education as the most powerful tool that society has to ensure its perpetuation in the present and its prosperity and happiness in the future.” He acknowledged Dr. Papazian’s “outreach to the community has been exemplary and it illustrates (her) understanding that in today’s world, educational institutions and the public sphere must work hand-in-hand.” In closing Fr. Harutyunian offered a final blessing upon Dr. Mary Papazian, her loved ones and “may the Creator bless San Jose State University under your leadership.”

There were many dignitaries and noted educators who addressed the crowd and Dr. Papazian with their well wishes and accolades.

Dr. Mary Papazian addressed the crowd at the inauguration, speaking about her Armenian heritage from her grandparent’s genocide stories to her parent’s commitment to beginning Armenian and passing on their love of education to their children and her mother’s passion to being an educator at an Armenian school in Los Angeles. Dr. Papazian noted that her family grounding set her on the course of education and her family, specifically her husband Dennis, have been great supporters of her endeavors in her career in academics and academic administration.

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