Carnegie Corporation of New York released its annual list of Great Immigrants on June 27 in a salute to 38 naturalized citizens who strengthen America’s economy, enrich our culture and communities, and invigorate our democracy through their lives, their work, and their examples. The philanthropic foundation, its board of trustees and staff, invite Americans to help celebrate these distinguished individuals by participating in its online tribute titled “Great Immigrants, Great Americans.”
Every Fourth of July since 2006, the philanthropic foundation has sponsored the public awareness initiative to commemorate the legacy of its founder, Scottish immigrant Andrew Carnegie, who believed strongly in both immigration and citizenship. Today the Great Immigrants tribute is an archive of accomplishment featuring nearly 600 exemplary naturalized U.S. citizens. For 2019, the honorees represent 35 countries of origin, a range of personal immigration experiences, and high-level leadership in diverse fields, all united through their shared experience of becoming Americans. Among the honorees:
- Darius Adamczyk, who arrived from Poland at age 11 speaking no English and rose to become chairman and CEO of Honeywell
- Angelika Amon, an award-winning biologist whose research on cell division holds the potential to yield new therapeutic approaches to fight cancer
- Andrew and Peggy Cherng, who cofounded the Panda Restaurant Group as a family business and grew it into a multibillion-dollar enterprise with 40,000 employees
- Wilmot Collins, a Liberian refugee who served for two decades in the Naval Reserve and worked as a child protection officer before being elected mayor of Helena, Montana
- Angus Deaton, a Nobel Prize–winning economist whose work offers insights into poverty and health issues, including rising mortality rates among middle-aged white Americans due to drugs, alcohol, and suicide
- Gebisa Ejeta, a World Food Prize–winning geneticist who developed a high-yield, drought- and parasite-resistant variety of sorghum that has improved food security for hundreds of millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Rahul M. Jindal, an organ transplant surgeon at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences whose humanitarian service has saved countless lives worldwide
- Dina Katabi, a Syrian-born computer scientist whose efforts to improve the speed, reliability, and data security of wireless networks earned her a MacArthur “Genius Grant”
- Midori, the acclaimed violinist who has served as a global cultural ambassador and leading advocate for expanded access to music education in underserved communities
- Mariano Rivera, the legendary New York Yankees relief pitcher, whose skill on the baseball field is matched by his commitment to philanthropic giving
(Read on: full list of 2019 Great Immigrants)
“As we celebrate these 38 extraordinary individuals, we are reminded of the legacy of our founder, Andrew Carnegie, who showed the country how immigrants contribute to the great, unfinished story that is America,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “We are also reminded of Carnegie’s observation that immigrants who become citizens are the most patriotic Americans because their citizenship is earned, not bestowed upon them. History teaches us that each new generation of immigrants strengthens the vibrant diversity of our nation and its democracy, and continuously renews the American dream.”
Andrew Carnegie was a staunch supporter of immigrant integration, and today the Corporation provides grant support for the work of the New Americans Campaign, a nationwide network of nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping legal permanent residents apply for citizenship under the direction of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.
The honorees will be recognized with a full-page public service announcement in the New York Times on the Fourth of July. For the first two weeks of July, the Corporation will also celebrate their stories and contributions through a social media initiative on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter @CarnegieCorp using the hashtags #GreatImmigrants and #ImmigrantStories. As part of the campaign, the Corporation will invite the public to share their own immigrant stories, whether recent or in the distant past, to connect the experiences of the honorees with the wider contributions of immigrants who have shaped the nation’s trajectory.
About Carnegie Corporation of New York
Carnegie Corporation of New York was established in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation's work focuses on the issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance: international peace, education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy.