Over the last four decades the Center for Armenian Studies (CAS) in the University of Michigan's College of Literature, Science, and the Arts has flourished due to the great support of our community here in Michigan and beyond. We are, especially under the current circumstances, happy to announce the endowment of two new funds that will greatly benefit our students, as well as promote the advancement of Armenian Studies more broadly. In the Spring/Summer semester of 2020, Ms. Jane E. Plasman generously donated to CAS a gift that establishes two funds: the Edward Hagop Noroian Scholarship Fund, a merit-based scholarship awarded yearly to the best and brightest of our students, and the Edward Hagop Noroian Lectureship Fund, which will support an annual lecture series related to Armenia and Armenian Studies. This substantial contribution will enrich the center’s programming and fulfill its mission to educate a new generation of students in the field.

Ms. Plasman’s gift honors the character and many achievements of her late husband Edward Hagop Noroian. Ms. Plasman, a University of Michigan graduate, received a BA from the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, with a concentration in Speech Pathology and Audiology. Plasman went on to receive her MA from Western Michigan University, also with a concentration in Speech Pathology and Audiology. While she was a practicing speech pathologist for many years, this gift pays tribute to the memory of the man she married and loved for more than 35 years.

Born in 1928 in Lawrence, Massachusetts to immigrant Armenian parents of modest means, Edward Hagop Noroian rose to become a leading figure in the public health arena. After serving in the military, Noroian earned a Bachelor’s degree in history from Long Island University. After graduating from Columbia University with a Master’s degree in history, he was drawn to the growing challenges of healthcare. He courageously changed his career trajectory and enrolled in the Master’s degree program in Public Health at Yale University. With a keen eye to historical contexts and equipped with a degree from Yale, he took on a series of hospital administrative positions. From his humble beginnings as a teenage elevator operator at Presbyterian Hospital in New York City and with many “stops” in between, he rose to become a leading figure in the public health arena, eventually serving as Executive VicePresident and Chief Operating Officer at the very same premier hospital where he got his start. There he relentlessly addressed what he saw as needed expansion of patient care, taking steps to modernize the medical center, build a new community hospital, develop a nursing home, set up a home healthcare agency, and pioneer a high-risk patient referral center. He was instrumental in spinning off PHRI/Presbyterian Health Resources, Inc. where he served as President. Noroian was also President of Professional Health Services, Inc., a cutting-edge healthcare consulting firm that specialized in assisting hospital management in turn-around situations both in the US and abroad.

Somewhat unusual for a senior executive, he cared as much about the people with whom he worked as he did about high standards of performance and results. Over the course of his professional life, Noroian distinguished himself as a mentor to many colleagues. His influence extended further through numerous published articles, papers, and book reviews presented around the globe. Importantly, he was not only known for his professional excellence, but also for his gracious humanity, generosity, his love of laughter, and his big smile. He never lost his love of history and looked for opportunities to feed his passion. That passion contributed to his enthusiasm for travel, both for pleasure and in the role of speaker, delivering papers and talks on public health issues at teaching hospitals and professional conferences around the globe.

Edward Hagop Noroian died on Thursday, January 24, 2019, in Canaan, Connecticut at the age of 91. With this gift, Jane E. Plasman wishes to keep Edward Noroian’s legacy alive through future generations and hopes that it will have a positive impact on students enrolled in the Center for Armenian Studies for years to come. With this support, CAS will continue and expand on its mission to prepare professionals and develop rising scholars, encouraging new directions of research and addressing important questions in the field of Armenian studies.