$7.3 million donation to aid university

Daily Sundial

CSUN alumna Mary Bayramian and her husband Jack donated their entire $7.3 million estate to CSUN – the largest cash gift in the university’s 48-year history.

The Bayramian endowment will be invested and the earnings from the investment will be used to increase student scholarships.

The larger sum, $5 million, will partly fund the Mary and Jack Bayramian Presidential Scholars, providing scholarships of $5,000 to at least two-dozen outstanding upper-division students annually. The remaining $2.3 million will help launch the campaign for the future 1,600-seat Valley Performing Arts Center, which is expected to be completed within the next five years.

“This gift from Mary and Jack Bayramian will create an outstanding legacy for Cal State Northridge and its students,” said John Chandler, CSUN spokesperson. “The scholarships that will be funded through the Bayramian endowment will support academically outstanding students and our student’s involvement in the future Valley Performing Arts Center.”

The university along with the consent of Don Barsumian, the couple’s nephew and trustee of their estate, decided where the donation would go. The only qualification Mary and Jack Bayramian made was that the donation help fund student scholarships.

Given that Mary Bayramian was an art teacher, the university decided to put the earnings from the $2.3 million gift into the future Valley Performing Arts Center.

The children of Armenian immigrants, Mary and Jack Bayramian were both born in 1921.

On Feb. 8, 1942, the couple married and remained married for 60 years.

Following World War II, the couple settled in the San Fernando Valley, residing first in Reseda and then in Northridge.

Mary, a homemaker, returned to college in her late 30s, earning a bachelor’s degree in art and a teaching credential from San Fernando Valley State College, which later became CSUN in the early 1960s.

Following graduation, Mary became an art teacher at San Fernando High School.

“(She) loved her students and was very interested in their well-being,” Barsumian said.

The Mary and Jack Bayramian Presidential Scholarship is the most prestigious award given by the university.

Recipients of the award work with faculty members on scholarly projects. The scholarships include a $5,000 award, priority registration, bookstore discounts and additional advantages.

Over time the endowment will provide support, and as interest continues to grow it will exceed the amount of the original gift, said Lili Vidal, associate director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at CSUN.

“A scholarship is a good way of showing appreciation and acknowledging the good things that students are doing,” Vidal said. “We are thrilled to have this gift and the opportunity to help students, and to recognize what they are doing and what they are achieving.”

To honor the couple’s endowment, CSUN is renaming the Student Services Building Bayramian Hall Sept. 13. During the Bayramian Hall dedication, the first group of Mary and Jack Bayramian Presidential Scholars will be introduced.

“People that haven’t been born yet that will attend CSUN will benefit from the Mary and Jack scholarship,” Barsumian said. “If my aunt and uncle were here today, they would be thrilled beyond their wildest dreams. By fulfilling these students’ dreams, it will fulfill Uncle Jack and Aunt Mary’s dreams.”

Valencia Bankston can be reached at editor@csun.edu