Founder and First Director

Dennis R. Papazian
Dennis R. Papazian, 1931-2023

Dr. Dennis R. Papazian was the founding director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan Dearborn (UM-Dearborn). A graduate of Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, Papazian earned his PhD in history from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1966. His dissertation was entitled Nikolai Ivanovich Kostomarov: Russian Historian, Ukrainian nationalist, Slavic Federalist. He was a faculty member at the UM-Dearborn from 1962 onward, and a full professor of History from 1971 to 2006. He taught courses in Russian and Armenian history, as well as on historiography, world history, European history, U.S. diplomatic history. He headed at different times the University’s Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences (1966-1968), the Department of Social Sciences (1968-1969), as well as the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters (1969-1973). Among other administrative positions, he also was Director of Graduate Studies (1979-1985). In parallel to directing the ARC, Papazian also served as President of the Society for Armenian Studies (1988-1991, 1997-2001) and was the editor of volumes 6 to 11 of the Journal of Society for Armenian Studies (1995-2001).

Dennis PapazianPapazian was a prolific scholar. He presented numerous papers, delivered academic presentations and lectures for a variety of audiences, authored many articles, book reviews, reports, op-eds, and gave interviews to media outlets on matters of his expertise. A select list of his publications is provided below.

Papazian was active in Armenian-American affairs and advocacy. He was chairman of the Board of Directors of the Alex Manoogian Cultural Fund from 1969 to 1977. In this period, he also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (1967-1971), the Diocesan Assembly of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, and the Board of Trustees of the St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in 1985-1997.

In 1975 Papazian took a leave of absence from the UM-Dearborn for four years to serve as Director of the Armenian Assembly in Washington, D.C. During this period and after, he was active in Washington, D.C., meeting with U.S. and foreign officials, and building contacts with many Michigan senators and House representatives.

Papazian was a long-time member of the Knights of Vartan fraternal organization with which he founded the ARC. He was Commander of the Nareg (now Nareg-Shavarsan) Lodge in 1988-1989 in Michigan, and Grand Commander of the national Knights of Vartan in 2010-2012.