Greg Tcherkoyan grew up in Fresno where he attended Roosevelt High School and Fresno City College with hopes of finishing his degree at Fresno State.
But he met his wife, Seta, who was a student at the University of California, Berkeley, and their love story led them to marriage at an early age and the start of their life in Oakland. Largely self-educated, Tcherkoyan earned certificates in real estate and securities law and had a successful career in the industry.
Neither finished their undergraduate degree.
“That is something they both regretted their whole lives,” said Kathleen McShane, the oldest of their three daughters. “They really believed in the power of education to help make a good life, and they were very intentional about wanting a college education for each of their three daughters.”
McShane earned a degree in political science, went on to get a law degree, and earned a master’s in divinity. Her sister, Patti Jamgotchian, earned a degree in consumer textiles while youngest sister, Kirsti Tcherkoyan, got her degree in psychology.
Helping Students Reach Their Dreams
Now, the Tcherkoyans are making sure that dream of getting an education will be in reach for many more students with a $500,000 gift to establish the Tcherkoyan Family Trust Scholarship at Fresno State. The scholarship, which supports transfer students who begin their higher education journey at a community college, honors the lives and commitment of Greg, who died in October 2022, and Seta, who died this October.
This gift is a full circle moment, a completion of what they have wanted their lives to be about, which is helping other people, McShane said. The first scholarship is expected to be awarded during the 2025-26 academic year.
The Tcherkoyans, whose families moved to California in the 1940s, were generous donors to the Armenian Church, to disaster relief funds, and to an orphanage in Armenia. Fresno and Fresno State have always been close to the family’s heart because it’s where they grew up, McShane and Jamgotchian said. Many family members still live in Fresno and extended family members graduated from the university.
Jamgotchian said, “Fresno State is very near and dear to our family and our family especially wants to give this gift to enrich the lives of future generations.”