CARLSBAD — Carlsbad resident Rev. Vahac Mardirosian was awarded a “Remarkable Leader in Education” award from the University of San Diego. The prestigious award was presented to Mardirosian at the university’s recent program honoring individuals from San Diego and Imperial Counties who have made “extraordinary and outstanding contributions to the field of education.”
Sponsored by USD’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the awards program is held each year to recognize educators, administrators, elected officials and community leaders. As a lasting tribute to the inductee’s achievements, their stories and portraits are permanently displayed on campus in Mother Rosalie Hill Hall. This year’s event also included remarks by Congresswoman Susan Davis and Paula Corderio, dean of the School of Leadership and Education Sciences.
Mardirosian, a resident of La Costa Glen since 2003, was recognized for his many years of work to advance the educational opportunities for Hispanics in California. A Baptist minister born in Syria, Mardirosian was raised in Mexico and educated in the United States. Over the past several decades, he has worked with Hispanic communities throughout the United States as a pastor, director of ministries and counselor. He founded the Educational Issues Coordinating Committee, which advocated for the educational needs of Mexican-Americans, in Los Angeles in the late 1960s. He also founded the Hispanic Urban Center in Los Angeles, which provided teacher in-service training programs about the culture and heritage of Mexican Americans. In addition, he founded the ABC Project Head Start Program for pre-school children through the American Baptist Churches.
Mardirosian went on to found the Parent Institute for Quality Education, or PIQE, in San Diego in 1987. PIQE trains Latino parents on how to become educational advocates for their children and encourage them to succeed in the classroom. Since its establishment, more than 458,000 parents have graduated from the institute’s program. Approximately 90 percent of the children of PIQE-educated parents have graduated from high school and more than 50 percent of those students have gone on to college.