Business leader and philanthropist Aso O. Tavitian was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, at a time when the country was a Communist satellite of the Soviet Union. After living in Beirut, Lebanon, for two years, he immigrated to New York in 1961 as a Cold War refugee. The same year, he received a scholarship to attend Columbia University. After receiving his master’s degree in nuclear engineering, Tavitian co-founded SyncSort Inc., one of the first software development companies that emerged after IBM unbundled its software, and served as its CEO from 1975 to 2008. The company played a pivotal role in the development of the software industry. In 1995, he established the Tavitian Foundation, which provides scholarships to students of Armenian and Bulgarian origin and sponsors projects that focus on the development of the Republic of Armenia.