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Why URI?

Eight of the 13 Kasparian family members who graduated from URI at a family gathering in August 2010: front row, left to right, Alice Asadoorian Topakian ’48, Violet Kasparian Ohanasian ’48; second row, Gail Topakian ’74, Joan Kasparian Sadyan ’75, Linda Kasparian Kamajian ’73, Edward Kasparian ’78, Jenna Kasparian ’07, Deborah Hay Kasparian ’80.

That’s the question that we’d like to ask our alumni.

As a start, we asked Linda Kasparian Kamajian ’73 to survey her family members. After all, three generations of the Kasparian family chose URI.

“As our very first generation arrived and gained footing in the Rhode Island economy in about 1900, URI was apparently the institution of choice for higher education for grandchildren graduating in the 1940s,” says Kamajian. “These are Violet (Kasparian) Ohanasian ’48 and Alice (Asadoorian) Topakian ’48.

“The next generation of alumni included Edward Kasparian ’78 and Deborah Hay Kasparian ’80, Joan Kasparian Sadyan ’75, Gail Topakian ’74, Linda Yessian Cameron ’69, and me.

“The generation following produced alums Jenna Kasparian ’07, George Kamajian ’04, Derek Kamajian ’08, and Lindsay Cameron ’03.

“Our continuing education for women representative was H. J. Yessian ’69, deceased.

So why did so many family members choose URI? Here are a few answers.

Alice Asadorian Topakian ’48: “I was encouraged to attend by my well respected guidance counselor, who was a URI alumnus.”

Violet Kasparian Ohanasian ‘48: “My dear friend was attending URI, and I wanted to go along with her. It was not too far away, and Dad was agreeable.“

Linda Kasparian Kamajian ’73: “I wanted a good liberal arts education, and back in the ’70s URI was considered far enough by my parents.“

Gail Topakian ’74: “I wanted to attend URI because my cousin was going there, one year ahead of me.”

Edward Kasparian ’78: “I applied to four schools and got into all four. I heard from URI last, and being a Rhode Islander I thought, ‘of course I’ll go to URI.’”

Deborah Hay Kasparian ’80: “I was under the impression it had one of the finest nursing schools in the country.”

Jenna Kasparian ’07: “I wanted to be near the ocean, and URI was a natural fit.”

The Kasparians have given their reasons for attending URI. How about you? Why did you choose URI? Please email your response to

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