Fresno State President John D. Welty presented the President’s Medal of Distinction to preeminent Armenian history scholar Dr. Richard D. Hovannisian.

Hovannisian attended Fresno State before earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and his Ph.D. from UCLA. He taught Armenian Studies courses through the Fresno State extension program in 1960-62.

He joined the UCLA faculty in 1962 and organized the undergraduate and graduate programs in Armenian and Caucasian history. He has published more than 50 books and scholarly articles on Armenian history. Since the 1970s, he has focused on remembrance and denial of the Armenian Genocide.

At the annual Armenian Studies Annual Banquet on March 11, Welty praised Hovannisian as “a true scholar” whose work and teaching have made an important impact internationally.”

The President’s Medal of Distinction is the highest non-degree award presented by California State University, Fresno. It is awarded to citizens of the region, state or nation whose contributions in the area of professional achievements or public service are of national or international significance.

Hovannisian also was presented proclamations by the California Legislature and the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.

A native of Tulare, Hovannisian, taught for nearly 50 years at UCLA and was named professor emeritus of Modern Armenian History.

The Armenian Studies banquet celebrated the 35th anniversary of the Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State, which has integrated its Armenian language, history, art, cultural studies and literature courses into the general curriculum of the university.

Professor Barlow Der Mugrdechian has been coordinator of the program and director of the Center for Armenian Studies since 2008.

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