YEREVAN (A.W.)—Yerevan State University recently announced the construction of a new dormitory, which will partly be funded by a $1 million (USD) bequest from longtime members of the Armenian-American community, benefactors Gourgen and Margaret Assaturian, siblings who both passed away in 2011.
The new dormitory, which will house 500 students, is scheduled to be completed next year.
Margaret and Gourgen Assaturian were born in Istanbul—in 1923 and 1924, respectively. In 1924, the Assaturian family fled Turkey for Armenia, then to Tehran, Iran.
After attending the Forough Girls American Missionary School, Margaret began working at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran as a translator, and later for Voice of America. In 1953, she moved to the U.S. and settled in McLean, Va. There, she worked as a translator at the Indian Supply Mission and continued her studies at George Washington University’s Department of Linguistics.
Through her work as a translator, Margaret traveled extensively and was instrumental in securing U.S. aid for Armenia and raising the issue of Armenian Genocide recognition in the U.S. She was an active Hamazkayin member and served on several boards within the organization.
Gourgen Assaturian was a founding member of the Armenian Cultural Junior Organization of Tehran. After moving to the U.S. in 1948 and receiving his higher education in Washington D.C., he began working at the Voice of America’s newly established Armenian Service in New York. He later moved to Washington and worked as an editor, commentator, and reporter at the Voice of America, until retiring in 1987.
He was an active member of the Armenian-American community. He was a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Sebouh gomideyoutiun and worked closely with the Armenian Relief Society (ARS), the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenian-American media, and many other community organizations and institutions.
Gourgen Assaturian passed away on March 21, 2011, and his sister Margaret passed away less than nine months later, on Dec. 13, 2011.
Earlier this year, the Central Executive of the Hamazkayin Armenian Cultural and Educational Society announced that the Hamazkayin Melankton and Haig Arslanian School (Djemaran) received a nearly $1.3 million (USD) bequest from Gourgen and Margaret Assaturian.