Former Provost and Dean Vartan Gregorian passes away


Former Provost and Dean Vartan Gregorian passes away

Vartan Gregorian, former provost, dean and faculty member of the University of Pennsylvania, died on April 15.

Dr Gregorian joined Penn Faculty in 1972 as a Tarzian Professor of Armenian History and Culture. In 1974, he was appointed founding dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, now known as the School of Arts and Sciences. As dean, he strengthened ties and fostered academic exchanges between Penn and the Sorbonne and helped maintain the high academic standard of Penn’s Romance Languages ​​Department. He served as provost from 1977 to 1981 before resigning when Sheldon Hackney was appointed president (Almanac October 28, 1980).

After leaving Penn, Dr Gregorian was appointed president of the New York Public Library. When Dr. Gregorian took the helm, the New York Public Library was in the midst of a financial and moral crisis and he restored its stature as a vibrant cultural resource. In 1989, Dr. Gregorian left the New York Public Library to become president of Brown University. During his tenure at Brown, he oversaw the addition of eleven new departments and over 270 faculty members, and more than doubled his endowment. He left Brown in 1997 to become president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a position he held until his death.

Dr Gregorian was a renowned historian and scholar. He is the author of several books, including The way home: my life and my time; Islam: a mosaic, not a monolith and The emergence of modern Afghanistan, a policy of reform and modernization, 1880-1946, and several articles on history and world affairs. Dr Gregorian has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and other scholarly institutions.

Dr Gregorian has received awards from the French, Italian, Austrian and Portuguese governments, as well as numerous honorary degrees, including from Brown, Dartmouth, the Juilliard School, University of Aberdeen and University of St. Andrews. He received the Medal of Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur de France during a ceremony at the cultural services of the French Embassy in 2017. The prize rewards his 30 years of efforts to strengthen relations between France and France. America, to improve ties between the French and the Americans. higher education institutions, and to promote the study of French culture and language (Almanac February 21, 2017).

In 1986, he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor as part of the inaugural class, which also included Muhammad Ali and Walter Cronkite. In 1998, President Bill Clinton awarded him the National Humanities Medal, and in 2004, President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.

In 2004, in his honor, the Annenberg Foundation endowed a $ 2 million Vartan Gregorian Chair in the Humanities to Penn (Almanac November 2, 2004). “Vartan Gregorian is an academic, humanitarian and truly remarkable person, whose wisdom, leadership and guidance have benefited several universities and important philanthropic efforts,” said the late Leonore Annenberg, then chairman of the Foundation. Annenberg. established.

“A lion for public learning and a renowned leader in higher education, Vartan was truly one of a kind,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “Whatever task he takes on, from his years of service with Penn to our service together on the Board of Directors of Carnegie Corporation, Vartan has always done it with brand genius and passion. unparalleled for the growth of the common good. The world will never see its fellows again. “

Born to Armenian parents in Tabriz, Iran, Dr Gregorian arrived in the United States in 1956 to study at Stanford University where he received a double doctorate in history and the humanities. He taught European and Middle Eastern history at San Francisco State College, UCLA, and the University of Texas at Austin before joining Penn’s faculty in 1972.

Dr Gregorian was predeceased by his 58-year-old wife, Clare Russell Gregorian. He is survived by his sons, Vahé (Cindy), Raffi and Dareh (Maggie); his sister, Ojik Arakelian; and five grandchildren, Juan, Maximus, Sophie, Miri and Dashiell.


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