Vartan Gregorian Awarded Honorary Membership In The American Library Association

On July 7, 2000, Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York, and former Senator Paul Simon of Illinois were awarded Honorary Membership in the American Library Association (ALA), the highest honor that the Association can bestow. The award was presented at the ALA’s 119th Annual Conference, held July 6-12, 2000, in Chicago. In reacting to the news of this award, Gregorian said, “I am grateful for this honor because of the importance of libraries in my own life and in the life and philanthropy of Andrew Carnegie, the Corporation’s founder. To Andrew Carnegie, it was not an exaggeration to say that the public library ‘outranks any other one thing that a community can do to help its people.’”

Below is the text of the announcement.

Vartan Gregorian

Whereas, Vartan Gregorian served as President of the New York Public Library, an institution with a network of four research libraries and eighty-three circulating libraries, from 1981 to 1989; and

Whereas, as President of the New York Public Library, Vartan Gregorian initiated the magnificent renovation and beautification of the historic main library building, revitalized the Library, and increased its endowment from $94 million to $180 million; and

Whereas, Vartan Gregorian was President of Brown University from 1989 to 1997, where his successful fundraising and dynamic leadership allowed Brown to acquire its 3 millionth volume in library holdings less than a decade after acquiring its 2 millionth; and

Whereas, Vartan Gregorian currently serves as President of Carnegie Corporation of New York; and

Whereas, under the leadership of Vartan Gregorian, Carnegie Corporation marked the centennial of founder Andrew Carnegie’s gifts to establish public libraries across America by awarding $15 million to the New York, Brooklyn and Queens Borough public libraries and to libraries in 22 other cities; and

Whereas, throughout his career Vartan Gregorian has been engaged with many library events, including the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Congress in Chicago in 1985; now, therefore, be it

Resolved that in recognition of his lifelong commitment to libraries and outstanding contributions to the development of public and academic libraries in the United States, Vartan Gregorian be awarded the highest honor this Association can bestow, Honorary Membership in the American Library Association.

Carnegie Corporation of New York was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote "the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding." As a grantmaking foundation, the Corporation seeks to carry out Carnegie's vision of philanthropy, which he said should aim "to do real and permanent good in the world." The Corporation's capital fund, originally donated at a value of about $135 million, had a market value of $1.7 billion at the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 1999. The Corporation awards grants of more than $60 million a year in the areas of education, international peace and security, international development, democracy, and special projects.