Honorees: Nazar Nazarian

Nazar Nazarian was born on August 2, 1929 in Beirut to Levon and Satenig (nee Yegavian) Nazarian. He graduated from the American University of Beirut with a BA degree in 1949 and a BS degree in pharmacy in 1951; then entered the family textile business. He came to the United States in 1951 and established a successful textile business in New York City. Nazar married Artemis Topjian of Watertown, Massachusetts (B.A. from Boston University, 1953) in 1954. The couple is blessed with two children, Seta and Levon, and five grandchildren: William and Nicholas Albrecht; Matthew, Daniela and Gregory Nazarian. Nazar started his own textile business, eventually called Royale Linens, Inc., headquartered in Kearny, New Jersey, a manufacturer of sheets under the brand name Royale, supplying many leading retail and specialty stores in the United States; firm recognized in 2003 by Sears Roebuck as a recipient of their coveted “Partners in Progress” award. He was president and chief executive until his retirement in 2006, then sold the business to Yunis Textile of Pakistan in January 2007. Since then, the new company has become the fifth largest importer of sheets and pillowcases.

Nazar financed AGBU Hall in Saddle Brook, NJ; established a scholarship program for bringing Armenian students to The Juilliard School; sponsored Armenian orphans at Melkonian Institute in Cyprus. He was a member of AGBU of America and on its board of directors prior
to becoming a member of AGBU Central Board of Directors in 1974; member of AGBU Finance Committee; former Vice President and Treasurer of AGBU Central Board of Directors (1985-2007); currently member of AGBU Council of Trustees. Nazar was a member of Board of Directors and Co-Chairman, Building Committee, St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in New Rochelle, NY. He was the founder, along with brothers Garbis and Noubar and sister Marie, of Levon and Satenig Nazarian Primary School in Beirut in 1962 in memory of their father (present enrollment of 300).

He is one of the godfathers of St. Vartan Cathedral in New York City. Diocesan Delegate 1962-65, 1967-74. In 1983, Nazar was appointed by H.H. Vazken I to a five-member Jerusalem fact-finding committee. In 1988, he established the Nazarian Family Foundation to provide scholarships, grants and internships to institutions of higher learning, charitable organizations and cultural programs in the United States. He assisted the Republic of Armenia with relief following the earthquake of 1988, through construction projects and airlifts of food, medical supplies, and textiles. Nazar is a donor, along with brothers Garbis and Noubar, of the building in the Beirut suburb named after the latter and given to AGBU for the Republic of Armenia to use as its embassy. The groundbreaking was held in 1996; official opening took place in 1998. He is the donor of Nazarian Hall in the AGBU Center of Buenos Aires, 1992.

Nazar is one of the founders of St. Thomas Armenian Church of Tenafly, NJ; was co-chairman of the Building Expansion Committee; served on the Board of Trustees and Parish Council. He was the recipient of St. Thomas Award for Service, 1985. He was a donor, together with brothers Garbis and Noubar, of the gymnasium and other facilities (AGBU Nazarian Center) at AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School in Canoga Park, California in 1995. He was the donor of Nazarian Activities Center at Camp Nubar, Andes, New York, with a cafeteria and sports facilities, in 1996; opened in 1997. Nazar was honored at a dinner dance held at New York Botanical Garden on October 24, 2003 in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of AGBU Camp Nubar, for his many years of dedication to the Camp.

He is the donor of one of the chapels of the newly built St. Gregory Cathedral in Yerevan, named St. Dertad after Nazar’s maternal grandfather. Nazar established an ultrasound center (Ultrasound Training Center) in 2000 at Yerevan Medical School with the help of his son, Dr. Levon Nazarian, radiology professor at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA; he also provided for training of Armenian radiologists at Thomas Jefferson Hospital.

He donated 12 Ultrasound machines in 2007 to state health establishments in the Republic of Armenia and the predominantly Armenian region of Javakhk in neighboring Georgia, bringing the total number of donated machines to 29, including a Cat Scanner. He underwrote the expenses of the Yerevan Summer Intern Program for 2007 and 2008. He underwrote the expenses of the toddler facility of AGBU Artemis Nazarian Preschool at AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School in Canoga Park, California (2007). Nazar Nazarian’s latest project, completed in 2009, was the construction of an administration building (divanatun) in Etchmiadzin.


  • St. Gregory the Illuminator medal from Catholicos Vazken I in 1962
  • St. Vartan Award from Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America
  • Armenian Church Member of the Year in 1968
  • Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1995
  • Prince of Cilicia medal from Catholicos Aram I in 1998
  • St. Gregory the Illuminator Medal – highest medal of the Armenian Church – from His Holiness Karekin I, Catholicos of All Armenians, on April 25, 1998
  • 1700 Jubilee medal by Catholicos Karekin II for donating a chapel for St. Gregory Cathedral in Yerevan in September 2002
  • Gold medal of Yerevan State University, 2004
  • Mekhitar Heratsi medal from RA President Robert Kocharian on April 6, 2007
  • Humanitarian Award from the Armenian Medical International Congress, July 4, 2009

Mr. Nazar Nazarian is a symbol of the American Dream, a success story of one man’s vision, hard work and business acumen. Inspired by his own father’s philanthropy, he is a symbol of generosity, community activism, support of Armenian causes and dedicated service to many organizations at the national and international level. It is said that those who give freely and unconditionally have wealthy souls. On that account, Mr. Nazarian is a very wealthy man since his generosity is boundless.

Nazar Nazarian’s contributions and dedicated service are truly impressive. Yet, if asked what is most important in his life, he would probably say: his wife, Artemis’s support and encouragement, his children and grandchildren, and the collaboration with his son Dr. Levon Nazarian in establishing the Ultrasound Training Center. This unique father and son team has changed forever the lives of many patients in Armenia. Truly a service to the Motherland.