PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Vartan Gregorian, the 16th president of Brown University and now president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, will deliver a lecture at the John Hay Library centennial celebration event. His talk, titled “Information and Knowledge in an Age of Technology,” begins at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 17, 2011, in Sayles Hall and will be followed by a reception in the John Hay Library Reading Room. Both events are free and open to the public.
Additional information and a live webcast will be available at www.brown.edu/web/multimedia/gregorian.html
Dedicated in November 1910, the John Hay Library is named for John Hay, a member of Brown’s Class of 1858 who served as Abraham Lincoln’s private secretary during the Civil War and later became secretary of state. The library, which replaced the University’s main library in Robinson Hall, originally accommodated 300,000 volumes and space for 180 readers. It remained the central library until the Rockefeller Library opened in 1964. Brown’s centennial celebration of the library throughout this academic year also featured a major exhibition at the David Winton Bell Gallery, showcasing rare paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, and artifacts from the Hay’s special collections.
“The John Hay Library is an enduring and increasingly vital part of Brown University history,” said Harriette Hemmasi, the Joukowsky Family University Librarian at Brown. “Housing the University’s collections of rare books and manuscripts, the University Archives, and many special collections on a wide variety of topics, the John Hay Library is a real and ever-present reminder of Brown’s proud past and its bright future.
“It is fitting that Dr. Vartan Gregorian, current president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, past president of Brown University, and former president of the New York Public Library, should help us celebrate this milestone,” Hemmasi said. “In 1906 Andrew Carnegie provided the original gift for the erection of the John Hay Library and with this gift, Carnegie ensured that the library would remain open to the public, serving as a benefit to society in perpetuity.”
Vartan Gregorian is the 12th president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a grant-making institution founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1911. Prior to his current position, which he assumed in June 1997, Gregorian served for nine years as the 16th president of Brown University.
He was born in Tabriz, Iran, of Armenian parents, receiving his elementary education in Iran and his secondary education in Lebanon. In 1956 he entered Stanford University, where he majored in history and the humanities, graduating with honors in 1958. He was awarded a Ph.D. in history and humanities from Stanford in 1964. Gregorian has taught European and Middle Eastern history at San Francisco State College, the University of California–Los Angeles, and the University of Texas–Austin. In 1972 he joined the University of Pennsylvania faculty and was appointed Tarzian Professor of History and professor of South Asian history. He was founding dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania in 1974 and four years later became its 23rd provost. serving until 1981. For eight years (1981-1989), Gregorian served as president of the New York Public Library, an institution with a network of four research libraries and 83 circulating libraries. In 1989 he was appointed president of Brown University.
Gregorian is the author of The Road to Home: My Life and Times, Islam: A Mosaic, Not A Monolith, and The Emergence of Modern Afghanistan, 1880-1946. A Phi Beta Kappa and a Ford Foundation Foreign Area Training Fellow, he is a recipient of numerous fellowships, including those from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council and the American Philosophical Society. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. In 1969, he received the Danforth Foundation’s E.H. Harbison Distinguished Teaching Award.
Gregorian serves on the boards of the Institute for Advanced Study, Brandeis University, The Qatar Foundation, The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, and the Museum of Modern Art among others. He served on the boards of the J. Paul Getty Trust, the Aga Khan University, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Human Rights Watch, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has been decorated by the French, Italian, Austrian, and Portuguese governments. His numerous civic and academic honors include nearly 70 honorary degrees. In 1986, Gregorian was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and in 1989 the American Academy and the Institute of Arts and Letters’ Gold Medal for Service to the Arts. In 1998, President Clinton awarded him the National Humanities Medal. In 2004, President Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civil award.
The John Hay Library
Dedicated in November 1910, the library is named for John Hay, a member of the Class of 1858. Perhaps the most famous Brown graduate of his day, Hay accepted the position of private secretary to Abraham Lincoln at the age of 22, and thus began a long career in government. In addition to numerous diplomatic posts, he was named secretary of state under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Hay also worked as a journalist and had a great love of poetry. He died in 1905 while serving as secretary of state. His friend Andrew Carnegie provided substantial funding for the library in his honor.