Vartan Gregorian (in memoriam)

Former President, Carnegie Corporation of New York

Vartan Gregorian passed away unexpectedly on April 15, 2021. He was the twelfth president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, a grant-making institution founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1911.  He assumed that position in 1997, and previously served as president of Brown University and as president of The New York Public Library.

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 Ph.D. in history and humanities from Stanford in 1964.

Gregorian 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 later became its twenty-third provost.

He was the recipient of numerous fellowships, honorary degrees and awards including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the American Academy of the Institute of Arts and Letters’ Gold Medal for Service to the Arts, the National Humanities Medal, and the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civil award. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed him to serve on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. He was decorated by the French, Italian, Austrian, Portuguese and Armenian governments.  

He served on several boards at the time of his passing, including the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, The American Academy in Berlin, and the Library of Alexandria.   

Gregorian was the author of The Road To Home: My Life And Times; Islam: A Mosaic, Not A Monolith; and The Emergence of Modern Afghanistan, 1880-1946,