The School of Medicine at Boston University will be renamed the Boston University Aram V. Chobanian & Edward Avedisian School of Medicine after a $100 million gift by Avedisian.
President Robert Brown unveiled the new name Sept. 29 at a ceremony with the donor Edward Avedisian and former president of BU Dr. Aram V. Chobanian.
During Brown’s speech, he said the donation will help further BU’s mission of “educating doctors to serve all people.”
“This magnificent endowment can be used in perpetuity to support financial aid for medical students, support our faculty through professorships and innovation in teaching and research,” Brown said.
Avedisian and Chobanian are immigrants and long time friends who grew up in Rhode Island a few houses away from each other after their families each fled from Armenian genocide.
Avedisian graduated from the College of Fine Arts and played clarinet with the Boston Pops and Boston Ballet Orchestra for nearly four decades. Avedisian invested personally throughout his life and committed himself to giving back to education and the Armenian community.
Meanwhile, Chobanian became a cardiologist and joined the Boston University School of Medicine in 1962 as a professor, later becoming a dean, Medical Campus provost and then President of BU.
Ryan Roth Gallo, Vice Chair of BU’s Board of Trustees, said she is “overjoyed” by the generous gift.
“It’s wonderful to honor these two gentlemen that still have deep connections to BU and from different areas of the University, one from the College of Fine Arts and one from the medical school,” Gallo said.
Melissa Hwang, a second year medical student, said she is glad alumni choose to give back.
“It’s wonderful that these two individuals who have made such a big impact in our community are giving back to not just nurture the next generation but also to invest in the future of our school,” she said.
Maurice Ferré, a trustee, said people come out of medical school with an average of $200,000 in debt.
“It will have a tremendous impact on the way that the school is able to work with students that are out there, making differences in the world,” Ferré said. “Students that come to Boston University and medical school are very passionate.”
Avedisian and Chobanians’ donation is helping students that were in similar positions to them, particularly being immigrants, that may not otherwise have the opportunity to attend schooling as expensive as medical school.
“A lot of us come to BU School of Medicine for the opportunity to help the underserved, to help those without a voice,” Hwang said.
Maggie Wen did the reporting in this article.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the donation was made by both alumni. The article has been updated to reflect this change.