Another college is coming to town.
The first American-Armenian College comes to the La Verne Campus as an associated college in September. The school will have its own board of directors, similar to that of Claremont Associated Colleges. It took a war and a dream to bring the college to this area.
For the past three years, Dr. Armen Sarafian, La Verne College president, along with several other American-Armenians dedicated themselves to the organization of a Christian college of Armenian heritage. The original site for the school was to be at the old Pasadena Nazarene College campus. Due to lack of funds, the school never came about.
Haigazian College in Beirut has been the only other Armenian college in the free world. The war in Lebanon closed the school since last fall. School officials are doubtful classes ever will resume. Because of their concern, many American-Armenians have helped to bring about the new Christian college at the La Verne Campus.
Dr. Yeghia “Elija” Babikian, who recently escaped Beirut, is the director of the new college. He is a resident of Arcadia and holds his B.A. and his M.A. degrees from the American University in Beirut and his Ph.D from UCLA. He left a federal government position to become chairman of the Education Department at Haigazian College.
His three-year contract ended in the second year. As he says, fighting between political factions forced the school’s closure. By October it became evident that Dr. Babikian and his family could not live in Beirut. American Council officials advised Dr. Babikian to leave Beirut. After a narrow escape he came to Arcadia.
The timing seems to be perfect for a dream reality. Dr. Babikian feels that the main objective of the new college will be “to impart to Armenian youth higher education for higher living in a Christian I environment.” He’s quite certain of success because of the location and La Verne’s fine reputation.
As he says “With God’s help, we will succeed.”