A dedicated former Learning Resource Center staff member, Laura Topalian coordinated the university’s Graduation Writing Test Preparation and test proctoring programs. She has died from complications related to heart disease and pneumonia. She was 84.
Topalian worked at Cal Poly Pomona for 28 years, beginning her career as a lab coordinator in 1976. The former high school teacher assisted the English department with their supplemental classes for students who needed additional help with their writing.
“As the Learning Resource Center grew, she became the go-to person for students needing help with their writing,” said Melissa Stocking, a retired Learning Resource Center tutoring coordinator.
In the 1990s, Topalian started a test proctoring program. She became the coordinator for both test proctoring and the Graduation Writing Test Preparation programs.
“She noticed the need and she fulfilled it,” Stocking said. “She was a visionary in that regard. She really cared about students.”
Stocking said that Topalian stayed active up until her illness, traveling daily by foot and bus to a city she loved, Claremont. Having a friend like Topalian was like “having your own personal cheerleader,” Stocking added.
“Laura taught me so much about listening and helping in a non-judgmental way,” she said. “She desired very much to help the underdog.”
A service honoring Topalian is set 11 a.m. Sunday, July 23 at Christ Church Parish, 1127 North San Antonio Ave., in Ontario, California. Regular church services begin at 10 a.m. Visitors can attend both or just the ceremony.