Phase Foundation Donates $50,000 to Montgomery College to Establish  the Dr. Norris C. Hekimian Memorial Scholarship

Scholarship to Support Students Participating in the College’s  Summer Dinner Theatre

Montgomery College received a $50,000 gift from the Phase Foundation to establish a scholarship in memory of Dr. Norris C. Hekimian, a long-time friend and supporter of the institution. The funds are being used to support students participating in the College’s Summer Dinner Theatre.

Celebrating its 35th anniversary, Summer Dinner Theatre has provided aspiring actors, performers, and technicians the opportunity to participate in college-level theatre productions each summer through two productions on the Rockville Campus. Countless high school and college students, as well as adults from the local community, have received first-rate educational and professional development experiences. Summer Dinner Theatre is produced in partnership with the Office of Speech, Dance and Theatre and the Office of Auxiliary Services.

A total of $40,000 has been used to create the Dr. Norris C. Hekimian Memorial Endowed Scholarship to ensure that students will have the opportunity to participate in Montgomery College’s Summer Dinner Theatre in perpetuity. The remaining $10,000 has been used to provide 22 scholarships for students participating in the summer 2012 productions of “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Hairspray.”

Dr. Hekimian, the only child of an Armenian immigrant, was an engineer and entrepreneur. He founded Hekimian Laboratories Incorporated, a telecommunications test equipment company, in 1968. With its first offices in his Rockville home, the company grew to more than $30 million in revenue before it was sold to Axel Johnson, Inc. in 1983, which later sold it to Spirent PLC in 2000 for $1.6 billion. A lifelong resident of the greater Washington, DC area, Dr. Hekimian and his wife, Betty, were avid supporters of the performing arts and education. After the sale of the company, the couple established the Phase Foundation, which continues to provide support to nonprofit organizations, under the leadership of their children. Many members of the Hekimian family have attended Montgomery College. Dr. Hekimian passed away on June 10, 2010, at the age of 84.

“The Phase Foundation and the Hekimian family have been generous donors to Montgomery College, and have supported a range of programs from the arts to the sciences,” said Dr. DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College, “We are so honored that the family—with so many members having benefited from the College—chose to establish a memorial scholarship to celebrate Dr. Hekimian’s commitment to education.”

Dr. Pollard hosted 10 members of the Hekimian family, including trustees of the Phase Foundation, at the June 23 performance of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

“My father loved coming to Summer Dinner Theatre each year so this seemed an appropriate way to recognize his passion for Montgomery College and the arts,” Phase Foundation trustee Cathy Hekimian said. “Our family knows that Montgomery College not only provides a high-quality education to thousands of students each year, but also enriches our community with lectures, performances, and art exhibits. We are delighted to support Summer Dinner Theatre, truly a special educational opportunity for performing arts students.”

To learn more about Montgomery College’s Summer Dinner Theatre, please visit the Summer Dinner Theatre website or contact the box office at 240-567-7676. Tickets are available for the current show “Hairspray” running through Sunday, July 29. Please contact Rose Garvin Aquilino, interim director of development, at 240 567-2429 to learn more about supporting Summer Dinner Theatre scholarships.

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