U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian, who is highly regarded for law
enforcement work in the areas of drugs, immigration, and organized crime,
was inducted into the Niskayuna High School Hall of Fame on June 20 as part
of the school's graduation ceremony. A 1979 graduate of Niskayuna, Hartunian
was successfully nominated by President Barack Obama to be the 48th U.S.
Attorney for the Northern District of New York State in 2009.
The Niskayuna High School Hall of Fame honors graduates who have distinguished themselves in a specific field of endeavor, in civic affairs, in humanitarian affairs, or in activities deemed by the Hall of Fame Committee to merit special recognition. It is the school's hope that today's students find inspiration, encouragement, and individuals worthy of emulation in the inductees.
Hartunian is a graduate of Georgetown University and the Albany Law School of Union University. He served as Albany County Assistant District Attorney from 1990 to 1997. His work on narcotics and violent crime cases led to his designation as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in 1994. Hartunian became an Assistant United States Attorney in 1997.
In February 2010, he was confirmed by the United States Senate as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York, a 32-county district that stretches from the Southern Tier, north to Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the Canadian border. Hartunian serves on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's Advisory Committee (AGAC) as vice chair of the Border and Immigration Subcommittee, and a member of the Health Care Fraud, Native American Issues, and Environmental Crime subcommittees.
He has received many awards for his work, including the Federal Bureau of Prisons General Counsel's Exemplary Assistance Award, the Narcotics Enforcement Officers' Association U.S. Department of Justice Award , various Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Regional Awards, and several case-related commendations. In May of 2010, Hartunian was honored by the Armenian Bar Association as the first presidentially appointed United States Attorney of Armenian descent.
"Mr. Hartunian's honesty, integrity, reliability, and trustworthiness make him one of the most respected civil servants in our country," Niskayuna High School Principal John Rickert said. "We are proud to call him an alumnus of our school, and congratulate him on his induction into the Hall of Fame. Mr. Hartunian will be an excellent role model for future generations of Niskayuna High School students."
Board of Education President Deborah Oriola introduced Hartunian at the graduation ceremony. In keeping with Niskayuna High School tradition, he delivered the commencement address, encouraging students to dream big. He recalled how the support of family, coaches, and teachers helped him transition from a nervous Niskayuna High School freshmen to a student that took advantage of opportunities at the school to develop his confidence, abilities, and dreams.
"With the educational and social foundation that this school provided for me, I learned to dream big dreams â€“ to believe that I could do anything I set my mind to," Hartunian said. "That is the gift that Niskayuna High School gave to me â€“ the ability to believe in myself."
The Niskayuna High School Hall of Fame was instituted as part of the school's 25th anniversary in 1983. A committee of citizens, students, faculty and administrators select the inductee from nominations submitted by members of the public.
Hall of Fame members are permanently honored with plaques on the wall in the atrium at the main entrance to Niskayuna High School.