Dr. Vartan Gregorian

President, Carnegie Corporation of New York

Vartan Gregorian is the 12th president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, a grant-making institution founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1911. Prior to his current position, which he assumed in June 1997, Gregorian served for nine years as the 16th president of Brown University.

He was born in Tabriz, Iran, of Armenian parents, receiving his elementary education in Iran and his secondary education in Lebanon. In 1956, he entered Stanford University, where he majored in history and the humanities, graduating with honors in 1958. He was awarded a PhD in history and humanities from Stanford in 1964.

Gregorian has taught European and Middle Eastern history at San Francisco State College, the University of California at Los Angeles, and the University of Texas at Austin. In 1972, he joined the University of Pennsylvania faculty and was appointed Tarzian professor of history and professor of South Asian history. He was founding dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania in 1974 and four years later became its 23rd provost until 1981.

For eight years (1981–1989), Gregorian served as a president of the New York Public Library, an institution with a network of four research libraries and 83 circulating libraries. In 1989, he was appointed president of Brown University.

Gregorian is the author of The Road to Home: My Life And TimesIslam: A Mosaic, Not A Monolith; and The Emergence of Modern Afghanistan, 1880-1946. A Phi Beta Kappa and a Ford Foundation foreign area training fellow, he is a recipient of numerous fellowships, including those from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Philosophical Society. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as the American Philosophical Society. In 1969, he received the Danforth Foundation’s E.H. Harbison Distinguished Teaching Award.

He serves on the boards of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum and the Library of Alexandria, among others. He served on the boards of the Brandeis University, J. Paul Getty Trust, the Aga Khan University, the McGraw-Hill Companies, Human Rights Watch, the Museum of Modern Art, the Qatar Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has been decorated by the French, Italian, Austrian, and Portuguese governments. His numerous civic and academic honors include more than 70 honorary degrees, including those from Brown, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, the University of Pennsylvania, the Jewish Theological Seminary, the City University of New York, Rutgers, Tufts, New York University, the University of Aberdeen, the Juilliard School, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Fordham University, University of Notre Dame, Carnegie Mellon University, Keio University, University of Miami, University of St. Andrews, and the University of Edinburgh.

In 1986, Gregorian was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and in 1989, the American Academy and the Institute of Arts and Letters’ Gold Medal for Service to the Arts. In 1998, former President Bill Clinton awarded him the National Humanities Medal. In 2004, former President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civil award. In 2009, former President Barack Obama appointed him to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. He has been honored by various cultural and professional associations, including the Urban League, the League of Women Voters, the Players Club, PEN-American Center, Literacy Volunteers of New York, the American Institute of Architects, and the Charles A. Dana Foundation. He has been honored by the City and State of New York, the states of Texas, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, and the cities of Fresno, Austin, Providence, and San Francisco.