Growing up in Iran, Azi Mohebbi’s parents, who were both engineers, instilled in her the value of education.
“For as long as I can remember, going to college was the number one priority in terms of education in our household,” Azi says. When she graduated from high school, it was understood that she would pursue higher education, and she moved to Switzerland for that purpose. Attending the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, she received her bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in applied mathematics.
Azi’s husband Afshin, who immigrated to California from Iran when he was 14, pursued his higher education in engineering and business. He went on to become the president and chief operating officer of the telecommunications carrier Qwest Communications International.
Today, Afshin is an investor in the technology field. Azi serves on the board of a nonprofit organization that supports underprivileged students in STEM education. Coming from a culture that values education so highly, the couple naturally instilled this value in their son, Kameron Mohebbi ’23, who studied economics and computer science at Occidental and graduated magna cum laude.
In addition to making the dean’s list, Kam is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, served as head of marketing and finance for Oxy Open Source, and participated in the Economics Student Association, Oxy Consulting Group and Occidental Community Literacy Program.
The Mohebbis have enjoyed watching their son grow and develop through his liberal arts education. “I’ve always appreciated that this is a school where there’s a focus on academic excellence but also a focus on creating individuals that are well-rounded,” Afshin says. “I went to a large university; there, you have to work really hard not to get lost. At Oxy, you have to try really hard to get lost. And that’s the difference.”
“Reflecting on the past several years, I must say that from the beginning, Oxy exceeded our expectations in every aspect,” Azi says. “Whether it was the academic rigor, availability of resources to students, or community engagement, we were always impressed by Oxy’s level of excellence.” In addition, she has appreciated Occidental’s Culture of Care, saying that she “could see Kam being surrounded by a community and by students who all cared for each other.”
The Mohebbis felt very connected to Occidental through Kam’s experience, as well as their own. Both got involved in the Parents Council as co-chairs to have the opportunity to support Occidental in return and have an impact on the student experience with their time and philanthropy. They made many close friends in the process.
The Mohebbis also were compelled to support various areas of Occidental’s fundraising efforts, seeking opportunities for a major gift to Oxy to commemorate their family’s dedication to education. Throughout their generous giving history, the Mohebbis have supported scholarships through the Oxy Fund in addition to supporting the Oxy Consulting Group, Oxy Open Source and the Boundless Brilliance club.
Afshin acknowledges that many people don’t have the same opportunities to give, and notes that he and his wife are blessed to contribute to the cause of education.
“Even though our son has graduated, we still love to be involved because we think Occidental is a special place and we’re hoping we can play a small part in continuing to keep it special for generations to come. As long as we’re alive, hopefully we’ll be in some way associated with this school and be able to be part of its history,” he says.
“It has been our greatest privilege being part of the Oxy community,” says Azi.