In Memory Of
André Nikolai Guevorgian
United States of America / Seat 11A
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André Nikolai Guevorgian
Businessman - Clarendon, Ltd
November 11, 1956 - December 21, 1988 (Age: 32)

Andre Nikolai Guevorgian, a trader for Clarendon, Ltd., commuted regularly between New York and Europe. He had previously worked for Bankers Trust in its international trading group. The son of a Russian immigrant to whom he dedicated many of his achievements, Andre was the embodiment of the American dream. He was survived by his mother, Tatiana, and loved by all who knew him. His mother has passed away since the first publication of On Eagles' Wings.

When you think of Andre, you just have to smile. Andre had a short life, but what a life! From a childhood on New York's roughest streets, he made it to Harvard Yard, across the river to the Business School, and beyond. He was a walking, always talking, personification of the American dream. But Andre fit no stereotypes. He was unique; everything about him was a delightful paradox.

To simply say Andre loved life would be unfair: he embraced it, he squeezed it, he kissed it. Last dance, last run, last call—that is where you would always find Andre. Above all, he loved people and he was all the more fascinated when they were a little bit different, if they were, as he'd always say, an "individual." He was the master of the affectionate insult. With friends and strangers alike, it was his way of saying, "Relax, don't take yourself too seriously, I'm OK, you're OK, and life is great."

Andre was a most complex man—enigmatic almost. No one person really knew all the dimensions and depths of his personality. People at work, from college, the South of France, or Sea Cliff, where he lived, saw one or several sides of him but never all of them long enough to say they truly knew him. Yet, he moved easily from one crowd to the next, making people from various backgrounds feel comfortable in his presence. His ability to dictate and control discussions and activities in order to keep everyone's interest was nothing short of an art form. He was the nexus to a most unusual and motley world he crafted out of places as diverse as Harlem, New York, London, and Harvard. This aspect of his personality made him an unpredictable character.

Andre's life was also strewn with seeming paradoxes that only added to the power, appeal, and complexity of his personality. This was no common man who led a most uncommon life.

Choate School Logo
Posted By Foundation Staff
Oct 28, 2022
A few weeks ago, a check for $491,000 was delivered to a small private middle school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, De La Salle Academy, which serves academically talented kids regardless of how much money their families have. Naturally, the $491,000 check was promptly banked, the last in a series of payments from one source that now amount to $2,470,000. “It’s nearly our entire endowment,” said the principal, Brother Brian Carty. No, this is not the story of another swindle or catastrophe crushing worthy people or institutions. Just the opposite. “That check was the final payment of the Qaddafi money,” Brother Carty said. “Muammar Qaddafi has turned out to be our single biggest donor not that he meant to be.” That would be the Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, leader of Libya, where he is known as the “Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.” The money to De La Salle Academy is among the final payments made by Libya to the survivors of people who were killed 20 years ago this month when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland. The story of how that Qaddafi money wound up in the tiny school on Amsterdam Avenue begins in 1967. That year, at age 11, Andre Nikolai Guevorguian was put on the subway from Washington Heights and sent to a small, experimental middle school on West 83rd Street. Andre’s mother, Tatiana Guevorguian, a widow, held her breath. Andre was an only child. The Upper West Side of those ramshackle years would be unrecognizable today; a few blocks away, a little triangle on Broadway had been so completely colonized by the heroin trade that it was known as Needle Park. Still, Andre had shown promise in his Catholic elementary school, and the middle school, the Msgr. William R. Kelly School, offered challenges not available in most parochial schools. Andre was a tenacious student, a ferocious but hopeless athlete. His father, from Armenia, had died when Andre was young. His mother, a Russian immigrant who worked as a secretary, raised him alone. The middle school — which closed three years after Andre graduated — and Brother Brian had steered him away from gang life, his mother would say. “She often said in her clipped English, ‘No Brother Brian, then Andre, he stealing cars now,’ ” said Brad Westerfield, a high school and college classmate. When he was in eighth grade, the Choate School offered Andre a full scholarship. This would mean boarding school in Wallingford, Conn. “With the Slavs, you just don’t send the kids away,” said Alex Levitsky, a friend. “It was culturally quite a thing for Tatiana, the mother. She was very disciplined about her own feelings — she would have loved to have him under her wing — but she had a great respect for education. She sent him up there.” From Choate, he went to Harvard as an undergraduate, then to Harvard Business School, all the while living a life without borders. “I came from Greenwich Country Day,” Mr. Westerfield said. “Another one of our group, Mike Kempner, was from a wealthy Jewish family right out of ‘Our Crowd.’ On the face of it, we had nothing in common.” In the adult world, Mr. Guevorguian turned out to be a born haggler. He got a start trading gray-market cars — buying used cars in Europe when the dollar was strong, then selling them in the United States. “He sold one car that had to be towed away because it wouldn’t turn over,” Mr. Kempner said. In the 1980s, when Brighton Beach boomed with Russian immigrants, he organized mass outings at restaurants that served food and vodka all night for one price. “By then, he was trading colossal volumes of oil, but he would spend the entire day bickering on the phone with the restaurant owner over the price for each plate, trying to cut $1 off it,” Mr. Levitsky said. “Then he’d walk in, and he and the owner would hug like brothers. It was the sport.”
An Endowment From Colonel Qaddafi
Posted By Foundation Staff
Dec 16, 2008 - The New York Times