The purpose of Armenian Studies Collections at UC Berkeley is to support the research and teaching about Armenia, Armenian Diaspora on campus. The Bancroft Library holds special collections on Armenian Studies.
In the late 1980’s, a group of Bay Area Armenian- American visionaries decided to introduce the concept of Armenian Studies to one of the most renowned universities in the world – the University of California, Berkeley. Within a few years, under the leadership of the UC Berkeley Armenian Alumni, the William Saroyan Visiting Professorship in Modern Armenian Studies was established, thanks to the remarkable mobilization of the community and generosity of a number of major donors. The Krouzian Endowment, established in 1996, provided important additional support.
In the fall of 1998, the William Saroyan Visiting Professorship became a full-time position. Professor Stephan Astourian was appointed Executive Director of the Armenian Studies Program and Assistant Adjunct Professor of History in July 2002. The William Saroyan position was no longer dependent on temporary appointments.
The program is further enriched by visiting lectures, academic conferences, symposia, and public speaking engagements organized or delivered by Professor Astourian.