Dr. Arsine Oshagan, educator, Armenian community leader and executive of a management consulting company, has died at 80

Dr. Arsine Oshagan, 80, of Radnor, an educator and a prominent force in the Armenian community of Philadelphia, known for her contributions locally, nationally and internationally level, died Thursday, April 28 of cancer at Bryn Mawr Hospital.

She has dedicated her life to improving the educational and cultural heritage of Armenians around the world, her family said, and she has led academic programs at Armenian schools in the United States and Australia.

For the past 22 years, she has been a business consultant and became vice president of Gap International, a global management consulting firm in Springfield, Delaware.

“She was a woman of many talents and a big heart,” said her sister, Jackie Rustigian. “She had a talent for serving others.”

Dr. Oshagan, Ph.D. in mathematics, moved to the Philadelphia area from Connecticut in 1977 to become assistant director of academic affairs at the Armenian Sisters Academy, an Armenian Christian day school, in Radnor.

“She had a very bright mind,” her sister said. “And she was a strong supporter of international causes, mainly for children. She had a global vision of the needs in the world, in terms of health, education and the improvement of the human condition.

After four years at school, she became a lecturer at Cabrini and Neumann universities and at Rosemont College in the early 1980s. Then in 1984, she was recruited to become director of the Armenian school Krouzian-Zekarian-Vasbouragan in San Francis.

In 1988, she headed the mathematics faculty at St. Hilary School in Tiburon, California, until 1992 when she became principal of an Armenian school in Sydney, Australia.

She and her husband lived there for six years before returning to Radnor.

After joining Gap International in 2000, Dr. Oshagan was promoted to Vice President, specializing in research and development and driving the transformation of businesses and individuals.

She retired in January due to illness, her sister said.

Dr. Oshagan was born Arsine Rustigian on April 1, 1942 in Boston, to Jacob and Stella Sachaklian Rustigian. She was the second of three children, with an older brother and a younger sister.

The family lived in Hartford, Connecticut, in a private home on the campus of Trinity College.

His father, born in western Turkey to an Armenian family, worked for United Aircraft, an aircraft manufacturer.

His mother, born in Boston to an Armenian immigrant family, had a master’s degree in art, working in an administrative position at Trinity but ultimately as an artist and interior designer.

“We were raised on a college campus with a New England spirit and values ​​about education and strong family ties,” said Rustigian, his sister.

Of the three siblings, Rustigian said, Dr. Oshagan “was the most studious, calm and quiet person who observed first before speaking.”

In Hartford, she served as the Sunday school principal at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church.

She graduated in 1960 from Loomis Chaffee School, a selective private secondary school, then graduated with honors from Mount Holyoke College, including Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Mu Epsilon (for mathematics).

She earned a master’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and a doctorate from the University of Connecticut.

During her graduate studies, she took a gap year to study the Armenian language at an Armenian school in Beirut, Lebanon.

While there in 1967, however, the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War broke out and she had to be evacuated to Cyprus, Rustigan said.

In 1978, she married Armenian poet, writer and literary critic Vahe Oshagan, whose command of the Armenian language also helped his wife become fluent.

For the past 20 years, Dr. Oshagan has taught Armenian to adults in the Philadelphia area who wanted to connect with their heritage and culture.

She served on the board of the St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church, was involved in the Assembly of National Representatives of the Armenian Prelature (NRA), and sang in the church choir.

Rustigian said his sister was also an accomplished musician who played both piano and violin growing up.

Years later, she learned to play the organ and served as substitute organist at the St. Gregory Armenian Episcopal Church.

In addition to his sister, Dr. Oshagan is survived by two stepsons, Hayg Oshagan and Ara Oshagan; a brother; and several nieces, nephews, cousins ​​and friends. Her husband died in 2000, after being married for 22 years.

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. May 11, at St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church, 8701 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia 19128.

Visits will begin at 10 a.m. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church, 8701 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19128, or, via this link, to Armenian Sisters Academy, 440 Upper Gulph Road, Radnor, PA 19087.

Laura J. Boyer