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Commitment to North Armenia, Artsakh — Armenia Fund USA Newsletter 2014.1

Armenia Fund USA Inc.
594 Valley Health Plaza
Paramus, NJ 07652

Tax ID: 13-3696515

Phone: 212-689-5307
Fax: 212-689-5317

info@armeniafundusa.org

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NORMAN MILLER SCHOLARSHIP FUND FOR A NEW GENERATION OF ARMENIAN ENGINEERS

The Fund was established in 2009 as an endowment by the family of the late Norman Miller. A highly successful engineer, inventor, businessman, American citizen, Armenian patriot and philanthropist, Norman Miller understood that the driving force behind his success was his education.

Mr. Norman K. Miller

Mr. Norman K. Miller

Born Norair Deirmengian on the eve of the Armenian genocide, he developed the first electrically activated safety edge for hangar doors. Word spread quickly through the U.S. military, and strategic air command bases around the world began purchasing them. Soon after, Norman was awarded the first of many U.S. patents that he received over this long and successful life.

Mr. Miller— an entrepreneur, inventor, businessman, patriot and philanthropist—passed away in 2009 at the age of 94, survived by his wife Virginia, his five children and 10 grandchildren. His awe-inspiring transcontinental life story is one of open doors leading to other open doors.

Successes equipped Norman with the resources to live out his desire to help others open new doors to opportunity and reach their full potential as he did. Armenia was fertile ground.

It is also fitting that Armenia Fund would be chosen to administer the scholarship, given that engineering plays such a critical role in practically every infrastructure project it has undertaken over the past 20 years—from highways, reservoirs and pipelines to electronic networks, indoor plumbing, agricultural machinery, farming equipment and more.

Another reason why the scholarship is so critical is that when Armenia became independent, the introduction of a tuition-based system in colleges and universities often made higher education unaffordable for distinguished high school graduates. As the scholarship will grant funds to students with exceptional qualities, it will help level the playing field so that talent and ambition will not be thwarted by financial constraints.

Student-beneficiaries of Norman Miller scholarship program
 

Meeting with the student-beneficiaries, 2012.

Since the availability of funds as well as the number of recipients depend solely on the interest accrued annually and is therefore subject to change, a rigorous selection process has been established. This will ensure that the most deserving candidates are awarded. These requirements can be adjusted in future years, but the current criteria are as follows: in addition to the candidate not benefiting from any tuition free education system, he or she is required to be enrolled full-time in a qualified technical or engineering high school academy, college or university in the regions of Gyumri, Vanadzor or Artsakh, as the starting points. They are also to meet academic subject grade requirements.

Once those criteria are met, preference is given to students who may also reside in border villages, are orphans or children of single-parent households or foster homes, have a physical disability, are actively involved in student life or have proven leadership and organizational skills through involvement in extracurricular and service-based volunteer activities.

A seven-member commission, formed at the discretion of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund Executive Director, decides the allocation of funds and the final recipients.

All that is asked in return is that the student acknowledge and accept the Foundation’s conditions and assume moral obligation to assist needy students in the future, if ever in a position to do so.

Students are encouraged to follow Mr. Miller’s own advice: ‘Education is never ending. Always strive to better yourself and use your knowledge to help improve the lives of those around you’.

Scholarship recipients express thanks to the Miller Family representatives via Skype
 

Scholarship recipients express thanks to the Miller Family representatives via Skype. Front L to R: Mikael Nalbandyan, Hovsep Ananikyan, Hermine Grigoryan, Shoghik Tatevosyan, Seda Popova, Armine Tonoyan, Hambartsum Sanosyan, Mariam Petrosyan, Araksya Harutyunyan, Irina Lazarian, executive director of Armenia Fund USA.

Surely, the story of Norman Miller will inspire these students to help turn Armenia and Karabakh into powerhouses of engineering expertise—producing world-class professionals involved in challenging and rewarding work right in their own communities.

Says Khoren Bandazian, chairman of Armenia Fund USA: “the work of nation building is never done. There will always be a need for talented engineers, in all specialties—software, civil, chemical, electrical, mechanical and so forth— to keep the society and the economy functioning at full capacity. The people of Armenia deserve no less, if they are to compete in a 21st century world.”

 

See also

2013-07-26: Project Update: Norman Miller Scholarship recipients talk about choices, challenges and opportunities ahead

2012-08-27: Norman Miller Opens Doors of Opportunity to a New Generation of Armenian Engineers

2005-07-22: Norman Miller's contribution to Armenia Fund USA brings water supply to Karabakh's Village Of Nor Getashen

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