In September 2015, I visited Armenia for the first time. The highlight of my stay was visiting AUA together with several of my classmates from American University of Beirut (AUB), Kevork Toroyan, Kenell Touryan and Berge Kalaidjian. I was impressed by the enthusiasm displayed by the students and by all the University had accomplished within its short existence. I was eager to do something to help AUA achieve its goals. My wife and I have survived a turbulent and difficult life, but are blessed now to have achieved a financial condition which enables us to help the young Armenian men and women fulfill their dreams. We were introduced the 100 Pillars Program, and I immediately made a decision to contribute to help AUA address its most pressing needs.
As an eternal optimist, I like to envision a bright and prosperous future for Armenia. However, as a realist, I could not ignore the geopolitical, economic and cultural difficulties we must surmount before this high level of prosperity is achieved. The young Armenians need all the help they can muster. AUA, in my opinion, is one of the important vehicles to prepare them for success, as it prepares them technologically and professionally so they may shine and advance.
While in Lebanon, I considered AUB as a shining light to illuminate the youth in the Middle East. In the same manner, I consider AUA as a shining light that will enlighten the Armenian youth and prepare them to lead the country through a very challenging environment to success. My parents always considered education one of the most important achievements in life. My wife and I are of the same opinion. Now, we are fortunate enough to have achieved a financial condition which allows us to help the Armenian youth take a few steps further toward achieving their educational goals.
If I were to dream about a successful Armenia, I would envision it as a leader in arts, technology, health care, social well-being, business, administration and, if we want to preserve our identity, a leader in military power so we can protect ourselves and grow peacefully. I am sure AUA will help in all these areas. I must admit, I know I cannot evoke this change singlehanded. Therefore, I can think of no better way than to have an institution like AUA, in conjunction with so many other effective Armenian organizations do the work. That leaves people like me to provide constructive advice and financial and moral support.
I am passionate about my family; my wife, my children, my grandchildren, my siblings. I am passionate about my friends, my work, my innovative ideas and my young colleagues. About education and about making this world a better place to live for everyone. But, in particular, I am passionate about helping Armenia achieve peace and prosperity.
We at the American University of Armenia are proud to count Matthew and Margarethe Mashikian among our most thoughtful and visionary donors. By joining the 100 Pillars of AUA, Margarethe and Matthew are not only supporting the growth of our University, but are investing in the future of Armenia. We too share Matthew’s dream that Armenia will have a future full of peace and prosperity, and we thank the Mashikians, wholeheartedly, for their contributions to ensure that future.
About the Pillars:
Matthew (Matheos) Mashikian was born in Alexandretta (Iskenderun) in 1933. During the genocide, he lost his maternal grandfather and four out of eight members of his father’s family. In 1938 his family relocated to Lebanon, where he spent the next 22 years.
Matthew’s primary and secondary education culminated in Baccalaureat Part 2, “Mathématiques Elémentaires”. After a 3-year hiatus during which he taught middle school French, mathematics and science, he entered the American University of Beirut (AUB), from which he graduated in 1958 with a B.E. in Electrical Engineering. After graduation, Matthew began working as a sales engineer with ASEA while simultaneously teaching mathematics part time at the Armenian Nishan Palanjian Djemaran. In July of 1960, he moved to Sweden to continue with ASEA as an Application Engineer. It was in Sweden that he met Margarethe, who would become his wife.
In December 1962, Matthew emigrated to the United States and settled in Detroit, Michigan. While working as a Research Engineer for Detroit Edison, he continued his education through night classes and a year of study at the University of Michigan. He obtained his MSEE degree at Wayne State University and his doctoral degree in engineering at the University of Detroit. Matthew retired from Detroit Edison in 1978 and began his own consulting business. In 1983, UCONN appointed him Professor of Electrical Engineering and Founding Director of the Electrical Insulation Research Center (EIRC). He retired from UCONN in 1997 to start IMCORP, a technology service company based on several patents he had secured while at UCONN. IMCORP is now a successful global company employing over 85 people.
Matthew has authored over 100 publications and holds 14 patents. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) and was recently elected to the 2017 Academy of Distinguished Engineers by UCONN. He continues to serve as Chairman and CEO of IMCORP.
Margarethe Mashikian, née von Schroeder, was born in 1938 in Koenigsberg (Kaliningrad), Germany. During the last year of the second world war, her family was forced to evacuate her home in East Prussia without her father, who was left behind to fight a losing war. Eventually, Margarethe found her way to Switzerland, where she completed her studies become an orthoptist.
After a short apprenticeship in Giessen, Germany, she found employment with an ophthalmologist in Sweden. It was in Sweden that she first met her future husband, Matthew. In 1965, she left Sweden and returned to Giessen, Germany for work. There, she was assigned to a young American Ophthalmologist who was on a special training tour.
In 1966, Margarethe joined the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, in Miami Florida. Before long, Matthew and Margarethe re-met in the U.S. and were married in Dearborn, Michigan at the St. Sarkis Armenian Church. Margarethe continued her orthoptic work as a Certified Orthoptist (CO), first in Michigan and, later, in Connecticut. Matthew and Margarethe have a daughter, Sonia; a son, Paul; and four grandchildren.