Berjoohy Haigazian, 87, former associate dean of students at Rutgers-Camden

Berjoohy Haigazian, 87, of Mount Laurel, former associate dean of students at Rutgers University-Camden, who was also a longtime volunteer with the Nationality Service Center of Philadelphia, died of cancer Thursday, Aug. 26, at Virtua Memorial Hospital.

Her students and colleagues remember Miss Haigazian as a demanding but fair teacher.

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Berjoohy Haigazian

As a history teacher at Audubon High School in the 1950s, Miss Haigazian was known to fail even seniors, said Terry Richartz, a student of Miss Haigazian's there.

"She was tough, straight, no messing around," Richartz said.

Miss Haigazian was also a part-time counselor at the school before being hired as assistant to the dean of students at Rutgers in 1963.

In 1968, she was promoted to associate dean of students at Rutgers-Camden, where she was a tireless advocate for students, said Richartz, who ended up working as registrar at the Camden campus.

"She would stand up for the students if she thought a student was right," he said. "But if a student was wrong, she had no qualms about suspending the student."

Miss Haigazian served on the scholastic standing committee, among many others.

"She was a strong advocate for what was right," said Jim Marino, assistant dean and director of the Career Center at Rutgers-Camden.

In 1980, Miss Haigazian received the Rutgers University President's Award for outstanding achievement.

She retired from Rutgers in 1987 to focus more on her volunteering through the Nationality Service Center of Philadelphia, which helps immigrants learn English and get settled in the Philadelphia area.

Through the center, Miss Haigazian became involved in the Folk Fair, which she chaired for five years.

Miss Haigazian was on the parish council of Holy Trinity Armenian Church in Cheltenham and also taught Sunday School for many years, said her niece Berjoohy Murray.

Miss Haigazian was born and raised in Philadelphia. She graduated from Kensington High School in 1941.

She received a bachelor's degree in secondary education from West Chester University in the mid-1940s and worked as a social worker in Philadelphia for a few years. During that time, she received her master's degree in counseling and psychology from University of Pennsylvania.

After landing the part-counselor, part-history teacher job at Audubon High School, Miss Haigazian moved to Haddon Heights, where she lived for 20 years.

Miss Haigazian is survived by her brother, Alishan Haigazian.

Friends are invited from 10 to 11:15 a.m. at Holy Trinity Armenian Church, 101 Ashmead Rd., Cheltenham. A Mass will be said at 11:30 at the church.


Contact staff writer Claudia Vargas at 856-779-3917 or cvargas@phillynews.com.