Vartan Gregorian Receives Common Cause's Andrew Heiskell Lifetime Achievement Award

New York, New York, December 1, 2009 — Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York, was named the recipient of Common Cause's first annual Andrew Heiskell Lifetime Achievement Award. The Award will be presented today at Common Cause of New York's 12th Annual Awards dinner held at the University Club and presided over by Master of Ceremonies George Stephanopolous.

The Award, presented by Thomas Kean, Former Governor of New Jersey, recognizes Gregorian's "inspirational leadership in advancing the cause of education and promoting its importance to the successful functioning of democracy." The Andrew Heiskell Lifetime Achievement Award was endowed by Mrs. Marian Heiskell in honor of her late husband, a founder of Common Cause. 

"I am deeply grateful for this award, but it is not about me: it celebrates two outstanding individuals, John Gardner and Andrew Heiskell," said Gregorian. "John Gardner, my late predecessor as president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, was not only the father of Common Cause, he was a great American citizen. He knew that America was a nation of strength and consequence but believed that its strength was rooted in the deeply held values of its people and its respect for the aspirations and accomplishments of individuals."

Gregorian continued, "Those ideals were shared by my dear friend Andrew Heiskell, who was Chairman of the Board of Trustees during my presidency of The New York Public Library. A unique, fascinating, intriguing, and complex person, he was a man of remarkable intelligence, culture, accomplishment and passion. He was the publisher of Life magazine, but many social and cultural organizations also benefitted from his untiring leadership. I am humbled to be honored in the name of these two remarkable Americans."

Common Cause is also recognizing Andrew Rasiej with its Common Cause/NY Democracy in Action Award. Rasiej, whose Award will be presented by Esther Dyson, is the founder of Personal Democracy Forum which has pioneered the use of technology and the Internet to inform and involve young people in the democratic process and the American political conversation. 

Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy, reinventing an open, honest and accountable government that serves the public interest, and empowering ordinary people to make their voices heard in the political.

Carnegie Corporation of New York is a philanthropic foundation created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to do "real and permanent good in this world." In education, the Corporation works to create pathways to opportunity for many more students by promoting systemic change and innovation in secondary and higher education.