Samuel V. Goekjian is a remarkable individual who set forth on a business-driven path well before immigrating to the U.S. on a 4-year scholarship to Syracuse University. Born from Armenian parents who escaped the Turkish massacres at the end of WWI, Goekjian grew up in Ethiopia where his family found refuge. Goekjian, inspired by his father’s resilience to hardship, was encouraged by the prospects of moving to America.
During his college years at Syracuse University, Goekjian was actively involved in numerous leadership roles, having been elected president of his junior class, the debate society, and the men’s student government in his senior year. He also belonged to the Phi Kappa Alpha Honor Society, the Orange Key, and Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated magna cum laude in 1952 with a bachelor’s degree in history. The following year, however, he joined the U.S. Army as a mortar gunner and served for two years during the height of the Korean War. Following his combat service, Goekjian attended Harvard Law School and graduated in 1957.
Mr. Goekjian has spent well over a half century working as a successful attorney and business executive. Goekjian launched his professional career as an attorney with the Washington, D.C.-based firm Surrey & Morse, for whom he served nearly 25 years and ran the firm’s Beirut and Paris offices. Fluent in seven languages and having lived on four continents, Goekjian brought a wealth of expertise and impact on U.S.-Egypt business relations, African law, and international development. He also lectured as an adjunct law professor at the Georgetown University and George Washington University law schools.
In 1983, Goekjian moved to New York City to take over as Chairman and CEO of Consolidated Westway Group, Inc., North America’s largest manufacturer and distributor of liquid feed supplements for the livestock industry. Beyond his remarkable accomplishments in international law and business, Mr. Goekjian’s entrepreneurial spirit stood out six year later in 1989 when he founded Old Line Bank, a Maryland state chartered banking association establishment. Goekjian later joined the international consulting firm Intracon Associates, LLC, as Chairman and CEO in 1995. He remains the managing partner of the Washington law firm of Kile Goekjian Reed & McManus PLLC, which specializes in intellectual property, internet technology, and international trade. Mr. Goekjian also serves as a senior consultant to various agencies of the United Nations and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
In spite of his humility, Syracuse University has honored Mr. Goekjian for his various accomplishments on several occasions. The first honor came in 1996, when Goekjian received a Letter Winner of Distinction from the Varsity Club of Syracuse University for Soccer, Track & Tennis. Later, in 2005, Goekjian received the Maxwell School Horizon Award, established to recognize wise, inspirational, volunteer leadership combined with exceptional philanthropic commitment. Finally, in 2009, Goekjian was honored with the university’s highest alumni award, the George Arents Pioneer Medal, for his excellence in international business and law. Samuel V. Goekjian remains a Syracuse University Life Trustee on both Student Affairs and Academic Affairs committees. Mr. Goekjian continues to be a beneficiary to numerous SU funds to include the NEH endowment, athletics, and Maxwell School, where he established a major endowment fund for its Global Affairs Institute.
As Goekjian once put it, “…I learned not only about the rights of citizenship, but also of the obligations that accompany that citizenship.” With this mindset and will to succeed, Samuel V. Goekjian not only accomplished his goals of obtaining a first-class education, becoming a lawyer, and becoming a U.S. citizen, but also made a real difference in world affairs.