Awarded to a member of the alumni community whose selfless and caring work and deeds benefit society and humankind.
California attorney Matthew E. Karanian '82 has dedicated a significant part of his career to promoting human rights and developing the rule of law in Armenia, the ancestral home of his grandparents.
Matthew spent several years as an associate dean and professor of the law program at American University of Armenia. He launched the Armenian Law Review, Armenia's first English language law review, and shortly after Armenia had re-established its independence in 1991, he served as an advocate for the interests of the country's newly formed non-governmental organizations.
As a legal scholar, Matthew served as a Caucasus specialist while conducting research at Georgetown University. He started his legal career a decade earlier as a litigator with Hartford's Halloran and Sage, the largest trial practice in Connecticut.
Matthew has published several books about Armenia. His latest publication, Historic Armenia After 100 Years, was recognized by the Independent Book Publishers Association as the top history book of 2016. This groundbreaking work is the first historical guide to Western Armenia — which is the designation used by Armenians to refer to Armenian lands that were ravished by genocide during World War I. It has been credited with introducing a lost part of Armenia to a new generation.
Matthew's contributions to the development of cultural relations between the U.S. and Armenia were recently recognized by the Republic of Armenia. He received the nation's prestigious Arshile Gorky Medal during a ceremony at the Armenian Consulate in Los Angeles on Armenian Independence Day, Sept. 21, 2016.
Matthew graduated from Bucknell University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1982. He holds law degrees from Georgetown University Law Center and McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific. While at Bucknell, he honed his photojournalism skills as a writer for and editor of The Bucknellian. He was also news director for WVBU-FM. Matthew practices law and resides in Pasadena, California.