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Schoolteacher’s Estate Benefits Fresno State Engineering, Armenian Studies Programs



Fresno State alumna Florence Elaine Hamparson (Fresno State News)
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Fresno State News

Florence Elaine Hamparson was known to have a big heart. As a third- and fourth-grade teacher at Turner Elementary School in east-central Fresno, she was regarded as an impactful educator who loved her students. She had a lot of love for furry friends and was an avid square dancer. Strong in her Christian beliefs, Hamparson was a member of several churches around Fresno throughout her life.

“She loved her square dancing, she loved her Lord, and she loved people,” said Patricia Towne, a family friend and CPA. “If you had a dog or a cat, she loved them too.”

Hamparson, a Fresno State alumna, had a long career as a teacher in Fresno Unified School District. She retired in 1995 and passed away in July 2021 at age 85.

In late 2022, the Elaine Hamparson Trust gave $900,000 to benefit students in two areas at Fresno State, the Lyles College of Engineering and the Armenian Studies Program.

In addition, Hamparson’s estate donated $1 million to the Charlie Keyan Armenian School in Clovis last year.

Fresno State Programs to Split Donation

Of the $900,000 donation to Fresno State, $450,000 went to the Lyles College to establish the Florence Elaine Hamparson Lyles College Quasi Endowed Fund to be used at the discretion of the dean to best benefit the college. Dr. Ram Nunna, dean of the Lyles College, has chosen to use a portion of the funds to support a scholarship honoring the legacy and life of Hamparson. Scholarship recipients will be part of the Lyles College of Engineering Honors Program.

The dean has allocated the remaining funds to support the construction of the Lyles College of Engineering Student Center at the Engineering East building. The center will serve as a space for collaboration and technology‐facilitated teamwork that will bring together students from all Lyles College disciplines.

“This timely gift will impact thousands of students each year,” Nunna said. “Our honors program attracts highly talented students from across our region to our college, and this gift will allow us to grow the program. The new student center will be a place for student engagement and collaboration.”

The other $450,000 went to the Armenian Studies Program. Those funds established the Florence Elaine Hamparson Armenian Memorial Quasi Endowed Fund to support the program’s rich tradition of research, publications, program outreach, and conferences.

“The Armenian Studies Program represents the students and the community. I believe that gifts such as the Hamparson Endowment will encourage others to also participate in the success of the program,” said Barlow Der Mugrdechian, director of the program. “The Armenian Studies Program is appreciative of this gift, and to the donor Florence Elaine Hamparson.”

Publishing Schedule Supported

The fund will bolster the program’s already active publishing schedule, which includes 20 books in “The Armenian Series” published through The Press at California State University, Fresno and four editions of the “Hye Sharzhoom” newspaper each year.

“It is so heartening to see such generosity displayed toward two colleges on campus that will have such a profound impact. The Elaine Hamparson Trust gift for Armenian Studies will bolster the students’ excellence in research, outreach, and conference participation,” said Dr. Honora Chapman, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State. “We are excited to see their new projects come to fruition that are made possible with these new funds, and we are truly grateful for this support.”

Hamparson was born in Everett, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, in 1935. Her father, George Hamparson, was a business owner in Boston, but due to challenging circumstances, he moved his family to Fresno to start a new life. Once in Fresno, he founded the Palmolive Dry Cleaners at the corner of Palm and Olive Avenues.