The Aquinas Medal recognizes outstanding and distinguished service to the social, education, and cultural communities.
2016 Aquinas Medal Honorees
Mr. and Mrs. John and Donna Azarian
John M. Azarian is the co-founder and CEO of The Azarian Group, L.L.C., a commercial real estate management and development company, and the owner of Azarian Realty Co., a commercial real estate brokerage firm. Donna is the owner of Azarian Agency, an insurance and financial services company, and the owner of Azarian Associates, a full service accounting firm. John and Donna have been involved with St. Thomas Aquinas College for many years. They formed The Azarian Family Scholarship at the College, awarding annual scholarships to deserving students, and continue the legacy of the Azarian-McCullough Art Gallery, which was donated by Barbara Azarian McCullough and her husband Paul. John is a member of the College’s Board of Trustees, serving on the Development, Audit, and Aquinas Medal committees and President of the Investment and Finance committee. He is a member of the Planning Committee for the annual Aquinas Medal Dinner Dance and he has also served as a guest lecturer for numerous business classes at STAC. John is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Business of STAC where he teaches a weekly undergraduate class. The Azarian Group, L.L.C. is an MBA Business Partner of STAC. John and Donna give generously of their time and talents to many organizations in their community and are active members of their church.
As the co-founder and CEO of The Azarian Group, L.L.C., John owns, manages and develops 19 shopping centers, 17 in Northern New Jersey and two in New York State, including two office buildings, one medical building and one apartment complex. The Azarian Group's properties total approximately 1,100,000 square feet in size and include approximately 350 tenants. John is also the owner of Azarian Realty Co., and specializes in the leasing and property management of commercial properties. He is a licensed real estate broker in the states of New Jersey and New York. John has also acted as a court appointed rent receiver / property manager for shopping centers, apartment buildings and residential condominium complexes. He is presently working on several such assignments as well as acting as Property Manager for several properties for a major regional bank.
John graduated from Saddle River Day School, Saddle River, New Jersey (SRDS) and Fairleigh Dickinson University (NJ) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management, where he was active in numerous clubs and activities, including his role as Editor of the school newspaper, "The Gauntlet”.
John is a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Ramapo College, Mahwah, New Jersey. He and Donna are board members of Hope and Heroes Children's Cancer Foundation at Columbia Medical Center in New York City. Hope and Heroes' mission is to "support and expand existing programs and therapies, develop new initiatives and enhance the research that is vital to continuing the fight against pediatric cancer and blood disorders."
Both John and Donna have been active members of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), attending numerous conferences, seminars, conventions, institutes and other professional forums on shopping center and commercial real estate matters. They have both attended and graduated from ICSC sponsored educational seminars and programs including the University of Shopping Centers and Management Institute I and Management Institute II. John was awarded the prestigious Certified Shopping Center Manager (CSM) designation from the ICSC in 1991, and was awarded the CRX designation from ICSC in 2013.
As the owner of Azarian Agency, an insurance and financial services company, Donna is affiliated with A+ rated companies and holds insurance licenses for Life, Accident, Health or Sickness, Personal Lines, and Property and Casualty. She is also a licensed real estate broker in New Jersey, specializing in leasing and property management of commercial properties. Donna graduated from William Paterson University (NJ) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Women’s Studies.
Donna is a member of the National Association of Female Executives (NAFE), a member of the Ringwood Chamber of Commerce (NJ), a member of the West Essex Chamber of Commerce (NJ), and the Vice President of the John M. Azarian Memorial Armenian Youth Scholarship Fund, a non-profit organization. She is a past member of the Washington School PTO, the Wyckoff Service Unit Team of Lenni Lenape Girl Scouts, leader of the Washington School Daisy Troop #1059 and Brownie Girl Scout Troop #481, and a past member and Sunday School teacher at St. Mary’s Armenian Church, Livingston, New Jersey. She is an active member of St. Leon's Armenian Church, Fair Lawn, New Jersey where she served as a Sunday School teacher and Pageant Director. She is also a past member of the Saddle River Day School Auction Committee, Development Committee, Upper School Liaison and has served as a member of the school's 50th Anniversary Committee, as well as President of the Saddle River Day School Parents' Guild. She is a past President of the Shadow Lake Club Association, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. In 2010 John and Donna were the honorees at the annual Saddle River Day School Auction / Dinner Dance.
John and Donna have four children. Their son, John III, attends St. Thomas Aquinas College. John and Donna are grateful and humbled to be receiving the 2016’s Founders Aquinas Medal from St. Thomas Aquinas College. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit students, current and future, through the Azarian Family Scholarship Fund.
Past Aquinas Medal Honorees
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