Gregory Arabian and President Monaco

Gregory Arabian, A54, who is establishing a junior professorship at the School of Arts and Sciences, with Tufts President Tony Monaco. (Photo: Matthew Healey for Tufts University)

Upon arriving at Tufts’ Medford campus, Gregory Arabian, A54, was inspired by the War Memorial Library. He said to himself, “How generous is it that Tufts veterans, with no expectations, gave of themselves to erect this library to benefit future Tufts students?” Years after graduation, he followed in their footsteps. With the guidance of Ellie Short and the advancement office, Arabian began generously supporting the growing Tufts ROTC, funding the Air Force ROTC’s academic awards program, and establishing scholarship aid for veterans seeking a Tufts education. He also made significant gifts to the Tufts Annual Fund and supported the Tufts Advocates and the university’s first Air Force ROTC scholarship, renamed after him in 2018.

Most recently, in gratitude and admiration for his Tufts professors, especially history professor Ruhl J. Bartlett, he committed to establish the Gregory H. Arabian, A54, Junior Professorship at the School of Arts and Sciences through his estate plan. His planned gift will provide crucial support for the academic careers of Tufts faculty, as well as their ability to mentor and inspire students, as Bartlett did for Arabian.

“My Tufts education has given me a broad outlook on life. I want to return to Tufts what I have been given and what has made me what I am,” he said. Awarding Arabian the Dean’s Medal in 2016, Dean James Glaser said, “Greg’s exemplary commitment to others throughout his life stands symbolically as a true light on the Hill; an altruistic example of hard work and dedication to all who follow him.”

Arabian’s family, who survived the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Turkish in 1915, supported Armenian causes and relief in and around their hometown of Andover, Massachusetts. His dad, Harry Arabian, labored long hours at a nearby textile mill, but out of gratitude to his new country, he encouraged his son to become active in American life. Arabian excelled in school, gymnastics, track, and football, and became the third Eagle Scout in Andover’s history (his brother was the second). He received a full scholarship to Tufts each year, enabling him to continue his education despite scarce family resources. “That is the reason that I want to establish my own ‘Operation Payback,’” Arabian said.

As a daily commuter from Andover, Arabian spent hours using the veteran’s library and found  special camaraderie participating in Tufts ROTC. “We all knew each other, worked together, and challenged each other,” he said. He formed strong bonds with his teachers, especially Bartlett. “He was absolutely brilliant,” Arabian said. “He was the most patient, caring professor I ever had. There was no such thing as a question not worth answering.”

After serving in the US Air Force, Arabian headed to law school. Anxious to get to work, he passed the Massachusetts bar exam six months before his 1960 graduation. “It was God’s hand that guided me,” he said. In the early 1970s, he founded Gregory H. Arabian & Associates, P.C., a fast-growing professional corporation dealing with product liability litigation. Regretting that his late parents could not share in his success, Arabian honored their memory with many generous gifts—for an elevator for the disabled at St. Gregory’s Church, North Andover; to name his dad godfather to the Armenian National Press; and, most recently, to support a new director’s building at the Armenian Youth Foundation camp in Franklin, Massachusetts, where his family and friends had spent time.

“I see America not as a melting pot, but as a colorful tapestry, representing the individual dreams of people of different backgrounds. That is what America is,” Arabian said. “Each of my life experiences has its own tint; and my Tufts encounters have made me what I am: a true Tuftonian.”

Monica Jimenez

Monica Jimenez, editor of One Tufts and Tufts Magazine's Connect section and writer at Tufts, can be reached at monica.jimenez@tufts.edu.