Raffi & the Rippers Show in Burbank Benefits AUA Scholarship Program


Raffi Aharonian performing with his band Raffi & the Rippers

On March 25, AUA Supporter Raffi Aharonian, with his band Raffi and the Rippers, performed at the Brews Brothers Brew Pub in Burbank, CA. All proceeds from merchandise sales were donated to the American University of Armenia (AUA) Scholarship Program

In attendance were many members of the community and the AUA Development team, including Raffi’s parents, Vicken and Sossy Aharonian, AUA Pillars. The Aharonians also named a conference room at the University in memory of Raffi’s aunt, Sona Hamalian, who served AUA in various capacities since its inception.

Left to right: Sossy Aharonian, Marianna Achemian, Vicken Aharonian, Siranush Khandanyan

Raffi was first introduced to AUA by his parents who invited him to an event for the Honoring Those Who Served campaign supporting veterans’ education at the University. When asked what compelled him to support AUA with his debut show, Raffi commented: “When I decided to organize my debut show, I had the idea of creating t-shirts to add a fun element to the event for my friends and family. As the idea developed, I saw an opportunity to encourage my network to donate to the AUA scholarship program. I’m excited to say that with everyone’s support, we have been able to raise enough funds to support two students next year. In addition, I hope that we were able to bring awareness to the value that AUA brings to the younger generation pursuing higher education in Armenia.”

Raffi and his wife LeAnn believe  it is important to instill a sense of philanthropy, especially toward Armenian causes, in their children, in the same way Raffi’s parents instilled it in him. “We visited AUA last summer when we attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Sona Hamalian Conference Room, a very memorable experience recognizing my aunt and her invaluable contributions during the infant stages of the University in the early 1990’s. We also had the opportunity to take a private tour of AUA and see all the amazing things going on on campus. As a parent, having my children in attendance with us was quite meaningful. They had an opportunity to experience Armenia and AUA in a very tangible way, and we hope that experiences like this will enable them to develop their own affinity for supporting their community as they continue to grow,” Raffi remarked.

Raffi and LeAnn Aharonian with their children in Armenia

The band played covers of popular rock hits and Raffi took the stage to thank the audience for their attendance and support, informing them that the amount of funds raised would be able to cover two AUA students’ tuition for a year through the establishment of the Raffi & the Rippers Scholarship

AUA alumna Selin Sarkis Grekorian (BAB ‘20) was delighted to be present at the show, considering she also received the Aurora Gratitude Scholarship during her studies at AUA. Commenting on the benefits of receiving an AUA education, she said, “My AUA experience was great and it definitely prepared me well for my career and also to further my education. After I graduated from AUA, I moved back to California and then continued my education in NYC. My AUA degree made the transition very easy as it is accredited in the U.S. I recently received a master's degree in economics and am currently working as a financial analyst.”


Marianna Achemian and Selin Sarkis Grekorian (BAB ‘20)

AUA is grateful for the continued support of two generations of the Aharonian family. To learn more about the AUA scholarship program, please visit:

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.

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