Remembering Don Poochigian

Don Poochigian
Don Poochigian

Donald Poochigian, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion, passed away Dec. 28 in Clovis, California. He was 74.

A passionate teacher and advocate for the liberal arts, he was memorialized in a remembrance published Dec. 30 in the Grand Forks Herald.

He was born Oct. 7, 1943 in Fresno, Calif., to Vaughn and Queenie Poochigian and was raised in a close-knit Armenian community. He graduated from Sanger High School in 1961 and from Fresno State University in 1965 with a degree in Political Science. From there he attended Johns Hopkins University and the Claremont Graduate School, from which he earned a Ph.D. in Government and Political Theory. He taught at the University of Minnesota for two years.

He joined the UND faculty in 1971. During his career he emphasized teaching. His office door was always open, and students often stopped by. He was nominated by students for an Outstanding Teaching Award, which he won in 1974. He served on numerous university committees and was elected to serve on the Faculty Rights Committee many times. The Dean of Arts and Sciences appointed him to organize a series of interdisciplinary public discussions during his last two years at UND. He retired last year.

Research was also important to him. He presented papers at conferences around the world and was a recognized international scholar. He served on the board of Directors for ATINER, a yearly conference in Athens, Greece, and also reviewed articles for its annual publication. After 46 years at UND he retired in 2017 as Professor Emeritus.

He is survived by his wife Toni Poochigian, by his three children Jennifer Howard (Houston, TX), Aaron Poochigian (Fresno, CA) and Amy Cruz (Placentia, CA), by his sister Donna Walzer Ormiston and by his brother Douglas Poochigian.

Funeral services are set for Friday, Jan. 5, at 2 p.m. PST at the Church of Latter Day Saints, 524 W. Gettysburg, Clovis. CA, 93612.

 The Point (by Aaron Poochigian)

Last month my Pops the Sage, the Brain, the Wiz,
waxed geometric, just between us guys:
“What is a point? A locus without size.
No length, no width, no depth, but there it is.”
By then the specialist in What Exists
had grown so shrunken he would not survive.
(The tapeworm tubing keeping him alive
seemed to be drinking life out through his wrists.)
I get it: skin and ticker, lung and joint,
we wither faster than we feel we should.
What learns to walk lies down again for good.
A rotten deal. But what about that point
void of affliction, misery and prayer?
No length, no width, no depth, but it is there.