USCIS Recognizes Head Of Carnegie Corporation Of New York

Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, was recognized today by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as an “Outstanding American by Choice.” USCIS Director Emilio Gonzalez presented the award to Gregorian for his outstanding contributions to the people of the United States as a naturalized U.S. citizen.

“By taking the Oath of Allegiance to become a United States citizen, Vartan Gregorian chose the U.S. as his home, as his community,” said Director Gonzalez. “Because of that choice and his gifts to our nation as an educator, author, and leader, Vartan Gregorian has earned our gratitude.”

“We know America is not perfect but we see it as perfectible. For us, America is not just a past, it is also a future. It is not just an actuality--it is always a potentiality. America's greatness lies in the fact that all its citizens, both new and old, have an opportunity to work for that potentiality, for its unfinished agenda,” said Mr. Gregorian.

The pledge Gregorian made early in life to become “a person of learning and consequence,” has served him well. Born to Armenian parents in Tabriz, Iran in 1934, Gregorian came to the United States to attend Stanford University in 1956 and begin a prestigious career in academia. In 1979, Gregorian chose to become a citizen of the United States.

As president of the New York Public Library from 1981 to 1989, Gregorian is credited with changing the direction of the institution and bringing the library back from the brink of bankruptcy. In 1989, Gregorian was named president of Brown University where he increased the prominence of the university, tripling the university’s endowment and diversifying the student body. Today, in addition to his service on the boards of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, and the Museum of Modern Art, Gregorian is the president of Carnegie Corporation.

“We the newest citizens in the United States, like so many of our immigrant ancestors, have come not only to enjoy the benefits of America but to work for its development and welfare,” said Mr. Gregorian. “We have come to lend a hand in reaching out for democracy's ideals. We have come to share its legacy and mission and to contribute to that ‘perfect union.’"

The “Outstanding American by Choice” initiative recognizes the significant achievements of naturalized U.S. citizens. Through civic participation, professional achievement, and responsible citizenship, recipients of this honor have demonstrated their commitment to our Nation and to the common civic values that unite us as Americans. Since 2006, Director Gonzalez has presented the “Outstanding American by Choice” certificate to naturalized citizens who have made significant contributions to both their community and their adopted country. Previous recipients include: Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, Senator Mel Martinez, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad.