BURBANK — The Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America has announced the inauguration of the Dr. Harry Demirgian Memorial Scholarship.

Administered by the Archbishop Hovnan Derderian Scholarship Fund, this esteemed scholarship is designed for both undergraduate and graduate students who actively engage in the life of the Armenian Church and exhibit Christian virtues, serving as exemplary figures among their peers.

This marks a significant milestone for the Western Diocese and the Abp. Hovnan Derderian Scholarship Fund, as it signifies the inaugural granting of college scholarships in its 11 years of dedicated service.

Since its inception in 2013, the Abp. Hovnan Derderian Scholarship Fund has disbursed approximately $545,000.00 to deserving students enrolled in Armenian schools. Recipients include students from esteemed institutions such as AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School (Canoga Park, CA), the Armenian Sisters Academy (La Crescenta, CA), the C&E Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School (Sherman Oaks, CA), St. Gregory A. & M. Hovsepian School (Pasadena, CA), the Saturday Schools of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America (Burbank, CA), and the American University of Armenia.

During last year’s Annual Donor Appreciation Dinner, the establishment of the Dr. Harry Demirgian Memorial Scholarship Fund was announced, a substantial endowment dedicated to supporting university students in accordance with the wishes of its benefactor. Dr. Harry Demirgian, whose profound connection to his Armenian heritage spurred significant contributions to his community, will be remembered for his enduring impact on Armenian education and culture.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1931, Dr. Harry Demirgian spent the first 70 years of his life there before relocating to Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2000. A devout member of the Armenian Church, he graduated from Wayne University and practiced dentistry at his private practice for many years. Affectionately known as Dr. Harry, he was a veteran and a talented musician who performed at numerous ArmeniaFest events at St. Apkar Armenian Apostolic Church in Scottsdale with his musical ensemble, the Horns of Plenty.

In addition to his professional pursuits, Dr. Harry served as an auditor for the Parish Council and was an executive member of the church’s cultural group, Hye-Ways. He also participated in the church’s Pokreeg Pem Group (Little Theater), portraying the role of William Saroyan. Above all, he held a deep love for the Church and Armenian culture, often expressing that attending church felt like being with family.

Dr. Harry was the last surviving member of his immediate family, preceded in death by his parents, Gregory and Marie, his sister Ruth Blake, and his beloved nephew, Mark Blake. However, he formed close bonds with families such as Artin Knadjian and Grigor Papazyan in his later years, earning him the affectionate title of honorary uncle among friends.

A dedicated philanthropist, Dr. Harry supported various causes, including St. John’s Church in Detroit, the Knights of Vartan, and St. Apkar, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to the Armenian cause. His philanthropic endeavors extended beyond financial contributions, as he also volunteered his dental services during a mission to Soviet Armenia, providing much-needed care to underserved communities.

In considering his legacy, Dr. Harry entrusted his investments to support the Western Diocese and the initiatives of His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian. With a desire to perpetually aid those pursuing higher education, he established the Dr. Harry Demirgian Memorial Fund within the Archbishop’s Scholarship Fund.

The Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America and the Abp. Hovnan Derderian Scholarship Fund extend heartfelt gratitude to Artin Knadjian, trustee of the fund, for his unwavering dedication and commitment to realizing Dr. Harry Demirgian’s vision.

Beginning May 1, applications for the Dr. Harry Demirgian Memorial Scholarship will be open, providing an opportunity for deserving college students to apply for this esteemed honor.

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