LOS ANGELES — Dr. Mihran Agbabian, long time community leader and philanthropist, has passed away on Wednesday February 13. He was 96 years old.
Born in Cyprus (1923), Dr. Agbabian was raised in Aleppo, Syria, and studied at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, where he received two Bachelor’s degrees in Physics and Engineering. He continued his education in the U.S. earning his Master’s degree in Engineering from the California Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Agbabian was an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. He had his consulting engineering firm, Agbabian Associates, for 20 years before he joined the faculty of USC as Chairman of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department until his retirement.
Dr. Agababian was the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor; the Movses Khorenatsi Medal from the President of the Republic of Armenia for exceptional achievement in educational development; the Sahag-Mesrob Medal from His Holiness Karekin I, Catholicos and Supreme Patriarch of All Armenians; the Saint Mesrob Medal from His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the See of Cilicia; and the Saint Vartan Medal from His Holiness John Peter XVIII, Catholicos of the Armenian Catholic Church.
Dr. and Mrs. Agbabian played a critical role in establishing the American University of Armenia (AUA). Created afresh to western educational standards, the institution is now considered one of the best in the country. The Agbabian family is also supportive of many groundbreaking initiatives in California, including the opening of the Republic of Armenia’s Consulate General in Los Angeles, and have long been guiding stewards in the Armenian Evangelical Church.
Dr. Agbabian is survived by his wife Elizabeth, three sons and four grandchildren.