CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—George Elanjian, who provided the financial backbone behind the $6.2 million Armenian Heritage Park project, is basking in another moment of glory and accomplishment these days.
He was named “Man of the Year” by his alma mater, Rindge Tech, from where he graduated in 1957.
Close to 350 people turned out at the school’s 55th reunion Nov. 19 to applaud Elanjian for his community service, sound work ethics, and ambassadorship to the school, which has never wavered over time. The school boasts the oldest alumni association in the country, dating back 116 years.
The tribute came only weeks following the death of his four-month-old grandchild to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), a tragedy that rocked the entire Greater Boston Armenian community. Elanjian managed to keep his composure during an acceptance speech before his peers.
“Unfortunately and tragically, our family is still grieving the loss of our granddaughter,” he said. “My wife Dottie is the glue that has held our family together through thick and thin.”
On hand to relish the moment were his two daughters, Janine and Loren, along with some close friends.
In presenting the award, Ted Darling described Elanjian as a graduate who embodied the true Rindge spirit of “service above self.”
“George has always carried the vision of our school no matter where he has gone,” said Darling. “He’s the perfect role model for others who have attended this school. His work throughout the community and business world has manifested itself in every facet.”
Among his deeds was chairing the All Gifts Committee, which resulted in seeing the genocide memorial reach fruition this year at the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Elanjian helped organized many a fund drive inside area churches while tapping into all available resources to reach the goal.
In his acceptance talk, he touched upon his proud Armenian ancestry and being born to genocide survivors.
“My parents met here and brought other immigrants with them to discover a new world and opportunity waiting,” Elanjian said. “They worked hard and coped with sacrifice. They stressed the importance of education, church, and culture. I’ve tried to instill those same values into my children.”
Elanjian was active with the Watertown Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), played football at Rindge, and belonged to St. Stephen’s Church.
After high school, Elanjian proceeded to Wentworth Institute of Technology, where he secured a degree in architectural engineering. He completed ongoing continuing education courses at Boston Architectural Center before becoming registered in 1974.
From 1972-93, Elanjian became principal architect with the firm of JGD Inc. During that time, he was responsible for the design, bid documents, and construction administration for Bentley College (now Bentley University), which featured a 120-acre project worth more than $100 million, along with a campus development plan of 1.2 million square feet of new buildings, additions, renovations, and a pedestrian bridge.
Since 1993, Elanjian has operated his own business called CGE and Associates. As project architect, he has taken charge of many design projects, including custom homes, multi-family residential units, commercial office buildings, restaurants, and most recently, the preliminary design phase of a 20-acre, $43.25 million housing project in his hometown of Woburn.
The Elanjians have been blessed with three married children and five grandchildren, alternating between their home in Woburn and another in Gloucester.
A number of notable graduates have occupied this honor roll, which came as a total surprise to Elanjian.
“Attending this school while growing up in Cambridge had a huge impact in my life,” he said. “The memories will always remain indelible.”
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