Student speaker Nazarian dedicated to serving peers

For Raffi Nazarian, keeping busy has never been much of a problem.

Nazarian, president of the senior class and this year’s student Commencement speaker, will receive a bachelor’s degree in marketing and international business from the Olin School of Business. He minored in Spanish in Arts & Sciences.

Raffi Nazarian
Raffi Nazarian

Though his studies certainly took up much of his time, many of his hours spent outside the classroom were focused on planning for Thurtene Carnival and Senior Week, as well as other events that were part of his duties as class president.

“One of my biggest commitments this year was Thurtene,” said Nazarian, who is from Lexington, Mass. “I was the treasurer and head of fund-raising for Sigma Phi Epsilon and Alpha Phi. We donated to Youth in Need, this year’s selected charity. I’m very proud of that.”

Senior Week, which ran from May 13-19, included a picnic at the Saint Louis Zoo, a freshman floor reunion, a float trip, a dance and activities at the Arch and throughout downtown St. Louis.

“I’ve done event planning in the past, but helping to plan multiple events for over 1,200 people for an entire week has been really challenging,” Nazarian said. “I’ve learned a lot and I’ve had a great time with it.”

Another of his accomplishments as class president was the co-programming of the senior transitional series, a two-week program aimed at helping graduating seniors transition into “real” life.

“We had a session on personal finance, a cooking lesson and (a forum with a) real-estate attorney, who discussed apartment-hunting, reading a lease and signing a contract,” Nazarian said. “We also had an image consultant and wine-tasting, which focused on self-presentation within the professional setting.

“We had a great turnout for all the events and some very positive feedback.”

Senior year was not the first time Nazarian was involved with student government. He was in the cabinet freshman year, internal vice president sophomore year and class president as both a junior and senior.

“Raffi has held leadership positions all four years here and has a strong commitment to serving his peers, which is evidenced through the many different events and activities he has helped to plan,” said Jill Carnaghi, Ph.D., director of campus life and assistant vice chancellor for students.

His education and experience have paid off. After Commencement, he will move to San Francisco to start an executive training program at the headquarters of Gap Inc.

During a six-month rotation, he will work in the planning, production and merchandising departments. He will then be placed in one of those areas, depending on preference and performance.

“I have had the most unbelievable experience at Washington University,” he said. “I can’t believe the four years have gone by so fast. There is nothing I would change.

“This place is what it is solely because of the people. The friends that I’ve met and the faculty and staff have all been so inspiring, so diverse. It’s been an unbelievably rewarding experience.

“I’m very excited to move on, but at the same time there’s going to be a big void to fill.”

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