When asked what led him to make such a generous donation to St. Nersess, Mr. Shahinian simply replied, “Confidence. I have confidence in the staff, in particular the integrity of Fr. Mardiros. I have confidence in the vision of Abp. Tiran Nersoyan and the Seminary’s mission and the perseverance of Fr. Karekin Kasparian.” He then added, “I know the Seminary will use my donation as promised.”
Back in the 1980s, Dean donated a ping-pong table to the Seminary, which was lovingly used for many years by the seminarians and summer conference attendees. When the opportunity again arose to donate towards the seminarians’ recreation, he embraced it. “How ironic that 40 years later, I am donating towards the recreation room. With the refurbishment, I hope the students will find a nice place to relax from their studies.”
In addition to the naming of the building, he has donated towards the upgrade of the recreation complex, which includes new flooring, furniture, electronics, large screen TV and refreshing the wall color, as well as new items outdoors, including soccer, volleyball and basketball nets. All will be enjoyed by summer conference attendees, too.
Mr. Shahinian’s father passed away in 2010 and his mother is now age 94. “I am profoundly grateful to my parents for their love, advice and encouragement, which ultimately led to my successes as an adult. This is why I want to honor them publicly,” reflects Dean. A plaque has been placed outside the front door to the recreation building bearing their names.
On January 30, Fr. Mardiros Chevian traveled to Washington DC to spend time with Dean and to review how his donations will benefit the Seminary. A proposal to support the continuing education of clergy and lay people was presented and reviewed for his consideration. Dean has donated additional funds for this purpose. “I am deeply humbled by Dean’s commitment to the Seminary and to the continuing education of our clergy,” stated Fr. Mardiros. “His trust and confidence in our mission will serve as a role model for others,” he concluded.
If this generosity wasn’t enough, he also donated towards the procurement of scholarly books for the Seminary’s library. This donation will allow the Seminary to expand its collection for students and researchers. “Dean’s additional gift will enrich our library collection and allow for more scholarly research,” noted Fr. Mardiros.
Dean Shahinian, a lawyer who has been elected as delegate to the 1995 and the 1999 National Ecclesiastical Assemblies (to elect the Catholicos) and to the Diocesan Council, served on the St. Nersess Board of Directors from the late 1990s to mid-2000s. For 16 years, he worked for the Chairmen of the U. S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on numerous bills and laws, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd Frank Act, staffed over 100 hearings, and negotiated numerous legislative issues with regulators and participants in the financial services industry. He retired from the Committee as Senior Counsel and Chief Securities Policy Advisor to manage the care and the affairs of his mother and uncle about six years ago. St. Nersess Seminary is grateful for his generous donations.