The Legacy of the Karamardian Family:
From AUA Founder to AUA ChangeMakers
When she learned about the ChangeMakers campaign and what it stood for, Liza Karamardian Carter felt a strong sense of responsibility to step up to the call. This responsibility stemmed from the fact that her father, Dr. Stepan Karamardian, was one of the co-founders of the American University of Armenia. Thus, to our call, Liza and her husband Scott answered by establishing their daughters, Stephanie and Christina Carter, as ChangeMakers of the University.
Inspired by her father’s academic success, Liza paved her own way by obtaining her undergraduate degree in biology from the University of California, Irvine, and then graduating in 1993 from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry, with a DDS degree. In her career as a dental professional, she got involved in organized dentistry and went on to become the President of the San Francisco Dental Society in 2001. Her volunteer work within her profession continued throughout her career and included her volunteering at her children’s schools and within their extracurricular activities. Currently, she owns a large dental practice in Los Gatos, California, where she practices dentistry with a genuine love for her work.
Liza attributes her love of philanthropy to her parents and their influence, saying, “My mother and father were lifelong contributors to the Armenian community when I was growing up. This commitment to our community culminated in my father’s role as one of the founders of AUA. My parents’ passion for affecting change and educating others had a profound effect on my career choice to be a dentist and to help others.” She adds that this inspiration extended itself to her volunteering within her own local community, where she has participated in many charitable organizations and served on several boards.
Speaking on her and her husband’s motivation to name their daughters as ChangeMakers, Liza comments on how her own vision for the future of Armenia aligned with that of AUA: “The mission of the ChangeMakers is to be visionary instruments of change in Armenia. Our daughters are part of the future, and we would like them to help shape the future of Armenia by supporting AUA and its students.” Respectively 18 and 22 years old, her daughters are aware of the naming and are excited to have an impact on the future of the University, and through that, on the future of Armenia.
As AUA enters its fourth decade, Liza comments on the University’s evolution since its founding and her joy to see AUA expand on its impressive list of undergraduate and graduate programs. She is also impressed to see AUA’s contributions to business development in rural areas of Armenia, helping and inspiring young people to enrich their lives through business endeavors and education. “Moving forward, I hope to see even more impact on the country of Armenia with the development of the Open Centers of Excellence. The collaboration of students, researchers, and professionals can help to shape the future of Armenia, and it is so inspiring to see AUA at the forefront of this,” Liza remarks as she continues to quote Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
From parents to daughter to granddaughters, AUA is eternally grateful for all the contributions of the Karamardian and Carter Families.