GEF Hosts Annual Recognition Evening



The Glendale Educational Foundation held its 2023 Donor Celebration on Thursday night, June 22, at the Glen Arden Club in Glendale. The evening was a welcome respite from the battles that the Glendale Unified School District board of education has recently endured with members of the school board on-site to celebrate the accomplishments of some of its alums.

Recognized with the Paragon Diamond Award was Armen Karaoghlanian. A graduate of Glendale High School, Karaoghlanian was recognized for his work in the film industry. Among his recognitions, in 2021 Karaoghlanian was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the City of Glendale.

The Premier Rose Diamond Award was presented to Alireza Ardekani. Ardekani, executive director of the Farhang Foundation, who was recognized for his career in media including marketing, development, project management and digital promotions. A graduate of Hoover High School, Ardekani is noted as a “proud Iranian American passionate about Iranian politics, history, art, film, music and cuisine.”

Finally, Hoover High School graduate Eric Spillman received the award for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts. Spillman is perhaps best known as a reporter for the KTLA 5 Morning News. During his career he has received several Emmys, Golden Mikes, LA Press Club and other awards.

All the recipients were grateful for the recognition and thanked those who influenced them throughout their lives.

From left are Premier Rose Diamond Award recipient Alireza Ardekani, Distinguished Achievement in the Arts recipient Eric Spillman and Paragon Diamond Award recipient Armen Karaoghlanian.
Photos by Robin GOLDSWORTHY

Another highlight of the celebration was the recognition of outgoing GUSD superintendent Dr. Vivian Ekchian. Ekchian announced her retirement from the district at the June 20 GUSD board meeting.

Attending the celebrate were (from left) GUSD board of education members Kathleen Cross, Jennifer Freemon, Nayiri Nahabedian, GEF immediate past president Marvel Ford, GUSD superintendent Dr. Vivian Ekchian, board of education members Shant Sahakian and Ingrid Gunnell.