Updated: Jul 13, 2021
Gregory Adamian standing in front of Bentley College (Newsweek).
By Danielle Saroyan
Armenian Agenda Associate Editor
Gregory Adamian passed away on November 21 in his home in Medford, MA at the age of 89. The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) mourns the loss of Adamian, who was a former Board of Director’s member during the Assembly’s formative years from 1973-1975 and part of the National Steering Committee in 1973.
In addition to his work for the Assembly, Adamian was involved and dedicated to the Armenian community. He is the founding director of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, which began at Harvard University in 1955. A few years later, in 1958, Adamian testified before the Senate to increase the number of Armenian refugees admitted into the United States. In 1990, he received the Humanity Award from the Facing History and Ourselves organization for his efforts to help Armenian Americans.
“He was committed to his ethnic identity, to his work, to his family, and to his church,” retired pastor of St. James Armenian Church of Watertown Rev. Dajad A. Davidian told the Boston Globe.
In 1998, he received the medal of St. Sahag and St. Mesrob, the church’s highest honors, from Karekin I, Catholicos of All Armenians. He was also a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2007. He served on the boards of the International Armenian General Benevolent Union, St. Nerses Seminary, and the Armenian National Science and Education Fund.
His parents’ families immigrated to the Boston area during the Armenian Genocide. Adamian was born in Somerville, MA on September 17, 1926. He enlisted in the Navy, went to Harvard College for officer’s training school, and graduated in 1947. He later served in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
Upon returning from war, Adamian earned his J.D. from Boston University Law School and an M.P.A. from the Graduate School of Public Administration at Harvard (known as the Kennedy School of Government). He practiced law in Cambridge and began teaching law and economics part-time at Bentley College in 1955, then became a full-time faculty member in 1968. Adamian was soon promoted to president of Bentley College (renamed Bentley University) from 1970 to 1991, and then became its first chancellor. He served on the Board of Trustees until 2002 when he was elected trustee emeritus.
Earlier this month he was laid to rest in Mount Auburn Cemetery.