Debbie Poochigian has spent a majority of her career and lifetime giving back to others. Whether it’s serving her constituents in the Valley as a supervisor on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors, coaching Little League teams, or teaching in the athletic setting – one thing is clear: Poochigian enjoys being of service to others.
After all, servant leadership runs in her family. Her father, Deran Koligian, also served on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors in 1982 and had the distinction of becoming the first Armenian-American to be elected to public office in the U.S. Now 34 years later, Poochigian is completing her second, and final term, as supervisor.
Tomorrow night, Poochigian will step on stage at the Save Mart Center and receive the 2016 Outstanding Alumna Award for the College of Health and Human Services at the Fresno State Alumni Association’s Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala. This prestigious honor is given to Fresno State alumni for their accomplishments in their fields and commitment to service in the community
Poochigian, a lifelong resident of Fresno County, is proud to be a bulldog. Fresno State is where she got her start in teaching and athletics. It’s where she found her love of volunteerism. And it’s where she met her husband, Chuck Poochigian, who is a former Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal and a former California State Senator.
In 1974, Poochigian earned her bachelor’s degree in Physical Education (now known as the Department of Kinesiology) from Fresno State, including two teaching credentials. For three years, she was a student-athlete, where she played for the University’s tennis team. After graduating, she taught physical education and coached middle school students before focusing on raising her growing family.
During that time, Poochigian became deeply involved as a volunteer with various organizations in the Valley. She got her start in politics in 1978, having organized and chaired numerous events on behalf of political and government officials. She has also served as a delegate to two national political conventions.
In her role on the Board of Supervisors, Poochigian represents her constituents from the eastern portion of Fresno County. She was elected just after the devastating economic downturn had severely impacted federal, state and local governments.
Poochigian has spent her career working to restore economic stability, strengthen public safety and protect property rights of individuals and families right here at home. And she managed to do all this while still remaining active in the community, serving on many boards and even coached Little League and taught Sunday school for over 40 years.
At Fresno State, Poochigian has been active with the Henry Madden Library Leadership Board, Ag One Foundation, Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature and the Fresno State Alumni Association.
Poochigian and her husband, Chuck, have three children, two daughters-in-law and three grandchildren, many of whom will be cheering her on as she accepts the 2016 Top Dog Award for the College of Health and Human Services.
To learn more about the Top Dog Gala, please visit their website.