Tampa, FL – On Wednesday, November 14 over 25 Armenian students, faculty and staff of the University of South Florida (USF) met for the first time at the main Tampa campus to get acquainted and discuss forming an active and permanent Armenian presence at USF.
The event began with introductory remarks by event organizer, Fr. Hovnan Demerjian, group introductions and wonderful Mediterranean food generously provided by Harout Topsacalian and Dennis Mousouris of Go Go’s Greek Grille in Tampa.
The group then went on to learn about basic resources for being Armenian in and around USF. They heard from long time mathematics professor and Armenian-American activist Dr. Manoug Manougian, followed by Dr.Mark Greenberg from the USF Library Armenian Studies Program. Dr. Greenberg announced an endowment solicited by Dr. Manoug on behalf of the library, which will offer academic and financial help to USF students wishing to study Armenian issues.
Fr. Hovnan Demerjian, pastor of St. Hagop Armenian Church in nearby Pinellas Park, offered the full resources and blessings of the church community in support of Armenian students, echoed by the presence of parish council representatives Chuck Sarkisian and Teresa Haidarian. He then spotlighted several programs and events at St. Hagop and beyond to get the most out of being an Armenian student at USF.
Fr. Hovnan also facilitated the final discussion, soliciting student ideas and enthusiasm for establishing a permanent Armenian presence on campus, and then handing over the establishment of the club to four capable student volunteers with faculty assistance from Dr. Manoug Manougian. The group hopes to file as an official USF organization by early next semester. If you are interested in joining the USF Armenian Student Club please contact us today!
The Diocese’s Armenian Studies coordinator Gilda Kupelian and Christian Education coordinator Elise Antreassian visited two Florida parishes, where they made presentations and held meetings with local community leaders and educators.
On Saturday, July 21, Kupelian and Anteassian led a program titled “Raising Children of Faith in the Armenian Tradition – What Every Parent Should Know,” at St. Hagop Armenian Church in St. Petersburg. Over 30 parishioners attended, gathering in the sanctuary for a discussion on spiritual formation and a PowerPoint survey on important Armenian historical, literary, and cultural figures. A fellowship hour followed, during which the community considered a parish retreat in the fall or spring.
The afternoon program was arranged by the Rev. Fr. Hovnan Demerjian, pastor at St. Hagop Armenian Church. Their membership has nearly tripled in recent years according to Fr. Demerjian, who has been working tirelessly with the Parish Council to plan Sunday School, youth, and cultural initiatives to serve the needs of the growing community.
On Sunday, July 22, Diocesan staff visited Soorp Haroutiun Armenian Church in Orlando, where more than 50 parishioners gathered for the day’s program. Visiting priest Rev. Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan celebrated the Divine Liturgy.
Following services, Ms. Kupelian gave a PowerPoint presentation on Armenian heritage and culture. Ms. Kupelian and Ms. Antreassian then met with the pastor, Parish Council member Rita Harvey, parishioner Anna Stepanyan Vega, and teaching volunteers to discuss the launch of a new Sunday School in the fall. The school will offer both Christian and Armenian studies for parish children and teens.