Northeastern University to Bestow Honors on Vartan Gregorian

At its May 7, 2010 commencement ceremonies, Northeastern University will bestow an honorary degree on Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York.

In addition to Gregorian, Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express Company and Victoria Reggie Kennedy, lawyer and political advocate, will each receive honorary degrees during the morning ceremony in front of 20,000 undergraduate students, family members and friends at TD Garden in Boston. 

Vartan Gregorian has served as president of Carnegie Corporation since 1997, following his nine-year service as president of Brown University. A history scholar, he has taught at San Francisco State College and UCLA and served as provost of the University of Pennsylvania before taking over as president of the New York Public Library in 1981.  He has been recognized for his significant and lasting accomplishments as a leader within higher education, libraries and foundations.

“Heralded around the world for his visionary leadership and gifted intellect, Vartan Gregorian has influenced generations of scholars and steered many institutions to greatness,” said Joseph E. Aoun, President of Northeastern University. “It is an honor to have him join the Northeastern family.”

About Vartan Gregorian

Dr. Gregorian is the twelfth 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 sixteenth president of Brown University. And 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 eighty-three circulating libraries.

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 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 twenty-third provost until 1981.

Gregorian is 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. 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 of Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. In 1969, he received the Danforth Foundation's E.H. Harbison Distinguished Teaching Award.

In 1986, Gregorian was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and in 1989 the American Academy of the Institute of Arts and Letters' Gold Medal for Service to the Arts. In 1998, President Clinton awarded him the National Humanities Medal. In 2004, President Bush awarded him the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civil award. 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 Massachusetts, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, and the cities of Fresno, Austin, Providence and San Francisco.