Alumni clarinetist’s philanthropy and humility results in the BU Aram V. Chobanian & Edward Avedisian School of Medicine
Two Armenian families finding freedom in America.
Two boys growing up poor a few doors apart in hardscrabble Pawtucket, R.I.
Two successful men—one a renowned cardiologist and former president of Boston University, the other a celebrated clarinetist for the Boston Pops—changing the course of Boston University history.
Lifelong friends Aram V. Chobanian (Hon.’06) and Edward Avedisian (CFA’59,’61) will now be connected forever as the namesakes of BU’s medical school. Thanks to a $100 million gift from Avedisian that will support scholarships, endowed faculty chairs, and cutting-edge research and teaching, the school is being renamed the Boston University Aram V. Chobanian & Edward Avedisian School of Medicine.
University President Robert A. Brown called it “one of the most remarkable grants in the history of higher education” at a private signing ceremony at his residence in late August to accept the gift and formalize the school’s name change.
The gift was announced to the public on Thursday at the school, before invited guests under a tent on Talbot Green, where both men shared the podium with Brown, Ahmass Fakahany, BU Board of Trustees chair, and Karen Antman, dean of the medical school and provost of the Medical Campus. Avedisian received a standing ovation and cheers before the sign with the new name was unveiled.
“This is a historic day for the medical school and for Boston University,” Brown said. The gift “gives an extra tailwind and boost to our aspirations that will benefit so many,” Fakahany said.
Avedisian and Chobanian donned ballcaps and white medical coats emblazoned with the new name. “With this white coat, I’m ready to see patients,” Chobanian said to laughter.
Avedisian is retired after nearly four decades of playing the clarinet with the Boston Pops and the Boston Ballet Orchestra. But it was the stunning success of his personal investments that afforded him the opportunity to give back to others. He has never forgotten his parents’ hard work and sacrifice, or the emphasis they placed on education, and he became a generous philanthropist to both the United States and Armenia in his later years. “I felt very