The origins of the Center for Armenian Studies (CAS) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, lie in the Armenian language and later history classes taught beginning in 1976 by a number of known scholars and teachers. The Armenia Studies Program, as the center was then known, was officially established in 1981, when Mr. and Mrs. Alex and Marie Manoogian endowed the Alex Manoogian Chair in Modern Armenian History (Department of History), which has been held by Professor Ronald Suny (1981-97), Professor Stephanie Platz (1997-2000), Professor Gerard Libaridian (2001-12), and is currently in the hands of Professor Hakem Al-Rustom.
In 1987, the Manoogian family endowed a second position, the Marie Manoogian Chair in Armenian Language and Literature and Dr. Kevork Bardakjian has held that position since that time. In 1997 the Marie Manoogian Chair was moved from the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures to the Department of Near Eastern Studies (now the Department of Middle East Studies).
Professor Ronald Suny directed the program from its establishment in 1981 until 1995. Professor Kevork Bardakjian was CAS director from 1995 to 2007, followed by Professor Gerard Libaridian from 2007 to 2012 and Kathryn Babayan from 2012 to 2019. The current director of the Center for Armenian Studies is Professor Melanie S. Tanielian.
CAS is a unit at U-M's International Institute; a steering committee guides its programming and budgeting policies while a smaller executive committee supervises the implementation of programs.
The activities of the center are supported by a number of endowments and major gifts from the Alex and Marie Manoogian Foundation (Taylor, Michigan).