Dr. Aboolian discusses importance of history, education


Jeffrey Davis

Dr. Robert Aboolian teaches his class in Business Administration.

Gayana Parsegova, Staff Writer

An Armenian man with wisdom and a passion for what he does at CSUSM, Dr. Robert Aboolian strives to be a role model not only for his students, but for the Armenian community as well.

Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, Aboolian completed his undergraduate studies at the Iran University of Science, receiving a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in industrial engineering. However, he wanted to continue his journey in higher education, so he went to the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management in Toronto, Canada, where he received his Ph.D. in operations management.

“Growing up,” said Aboolian, “my father was a teacher and was one of the best teachers I had in middle school. He was a math teacher, and later went on to become a principal. He was always very supportive of my siblings and I receiving a good education. At an early age, I already knew I wanted to be a professor and teach as well.”

Unfortunately, some difficulties arose for Aboolian in the 1980s when he began his undergraduate studies to pursue his dream of becoming a professor. A nearly 10-year war erupted between Iran and Iraq, putting the citizens of these countries in great danger.

“All University students were forced to stop their education and join the army for six months,” said Aboolian,  “At that time, I had lost several of my classmates, but I was able to cope with it. There were times when the attacks from Iraq were very close to my family and I.”

Dr. Aboolian has been with CSUSM since 2002 and has served as Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management and the Chair of the Department of Operations and Supply Chain Management as well. He currently teaches courses such as Foundation of Operations Management, Decision Models, Business Statistics in addition to graduate classes.

“In Iran,” said Aboolian, “I grew up in a community filled with all Armenian people. We were a people that were known to be hard-working and dedicated in everything that we did. Back then, education was free. I had no financial struggles, my parents had helped me every step of the way and ultimately, becoming a professor was an occupation that was highly respected by everyone.”

Today, Dr. Aboolian and his family still embrace their Armenian roots and culture as best as they can. Being a father, he, along with his wife, does his best to not only make sure their daughters understand the meaning of being Armenian, but also implement the meaning of education.

“I love my job,” said Aboolian, “and truly feel content with my life, and I’m proud to say that I’m an Armenian from Iran. I hope that someday there will be more Armenians who will become more progressive within our society and hold more leadership roles.

Although the community down here is small, there is still potential for us to grow. Similarly to my students, when I see that they have potential as well, I will try to encourage them, but never force. In the same way I hope the Armenian community grows just as great.”