LOS ANGELES–The Armenian Cultural Foundation along with the Armenian community will honor Dr. Vartan Gregorian–the President of Carnegie Corporation of New York–during a tribute banquet at Universal Hilton Hotel on June 12. All proceeds of the banquet–at Dr. Gregorian’s request–will be donated to his alma mater–the Nishan Palanjian Jemaran in Beirut–Lebanon.
The distinguished honoree has come a long way from his childhood days in Tabriz–Iran. When he was 7 years old–his mother passed away and his father left to fight in World War II. At age 15–he left home arrived in Lebanon with $50 in his pocket.
In Beirut–he enrolled at Nishan Palanjian Jemaran where Simon Vratzian–the Prime Minister of the independent Republic of Armenia in 1920–was the school’s principal. Vratzian became a mentor and a surrogate father to the young man and encouraged him to go to the United States to further his education.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1958 and a Ph.D. in 1964 in history from Stanford University. After several teaching posts at San Francisco State College–University of California at Berkeley–UCLA–and University of Texas at Austin–he served as Dean and Provost at University of Pennsylvania.
From 1981 to 1989 as President of the New York Public Library–he restored the dying institution to grandeur by raising $400 million. Gregorian then assumed the presidency of Brown University–becoming the first immigrant selected to lead an Ivy League university. After 9 years at Brown–he made a major career move last year. He accepted the position of President of Carnegie Corporation of New York–one of the nation’s largest foundations. Rather than raising funds–he is now in charge of distributing $60 million a year to worthy educational and humanitarian causes throughout the world.
Gregorian has received dozens of distinguished awards and has been decorated by the governmen’s of France–Italy–Austria and Portugal. He has received honorary doctorates from 40 universities. He has appeared on countless national TV programs and featured in scores of major newspapers and magazines.
"Quite simply–I know of no one who is more brilliant and able. This gentlemen–whom I have had the pleasure of working with since his days at the University of Pennsylvania–is easily the most unique individual I have ever know," philanthropist Walter Annenberg recently told the Washington Post. "He is terrific–one of our most sparkling minds and souls," said Andrew Haskell–the former chairman of Time–Inc.
For reservations to the June 12 banquet in honor of Dr. Gregorian please call (818) 243-1890.