Retired clarinetist Edward Avedisian has donated $100 million to the Boston University medical school, the university announced Thursday.
Avedisian, a BU alumnus, spent nearly four decades playing clarinet with the Boston Pops and Boston Ballet Orchestra while amassing a fortune in personal investments on the side, according to BU. He became a philanthropist devoted to educational causes and the Armenian community, of which he is a member.
Avedisian said he did not want the medical school to be named after him; instead, he requested it be named for Aram Chobanian, a cardiologist and former medical school provost and president of BU, who happened to be a childhood friend of Avedisian’s. Both men’s families fled the Armenian genocide of the 1910s and sought refuge in Pawtucket, R.I., where the boys grew up together, The Boston Globe reported.
Chobanian countered that he would only accept the naming honor if Avedisian shared it with him. The school, which since 1873 has been called the Boston University School of Medicine, will now be known as the Aram V. Chobanian & Edward Avedisian School of Medicine. Avedisian has made numerous contributions to colleges, schools and hospitals in the past—including BU—but has never before had anything named after him.
Of Avedisian’s $100 million gift, $50 million will go toward scholarships for medical students, $25 million will go toward endowed professorships and $25 million will seed a fund to advance research and teaching at the medical school.