March 29, 2018 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Grand Rapids Community College is mourning the passing Wednesday of alumnus and longtime supporter Armen Oumedian, who combined his generosity with a firm belief that education is the way to improves lives and our community.
Mr. Oumedian created several scholarships through the GRCC Foundation, including opportunities for first-generation students and those going into healthcare. Just this week, he was a sponsor of SCHOLARfest, the foundation's annual benefit to assist students.
"Mr. Oumedian didn't just improve lives, he transformed them," GRCC President Bill Pink said. "He cared deeply about this community and this institution. But most importantly, he cared about the people who learn here and who teach here. He pushed us to strive for excellence, always, knowing the impact that would have on the people we serve."
GRCC's Armen Awards, which were held from 2012 to 2016, reflected Mr. Oumedian's commitment to innovative thinking. Faculty members led students in designing and completing service projects for community organizations. The awards were later renamed the Armen Innovation Grants.
"Armen always challenged all of us to think about the big picture," said Kathryn K. Mullins, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the GRCC Foundation. "He always wanted to make sure everyone knew about how special GRCC is, and the important role it plays in our community and for our students' educational journey."
Mr. Oumedian attended what was then Grand Rapids Junior College from 1941 to 1943 -- as did his late wife, Pat, and their three children. After graduating in 1949 from Kettering University, then known as the GM Institute, he worked for General Motors for 10 years. He then worked for 32 years at Rapistan Inc., retiring as a senior vice president in 2000. He was named GRCC's Distinguished Alumnus in 1996.
Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.