Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1996-1997 index

Revised October 1996
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Vartan Gregorian
Sixteenth President of Brown University

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Vartan Gregorian is Brown University's 16th president. Since arriving in January 1989, he has ushered the University toward the next century, presiding over its growing internationalization, its leadership role in higher education and its public service to the community.

During the past seven years, eleven departments have been created, including Modern Culture and Media, American Civilization, and Portuguese and Brazilian Studies; nearly 250 faculty members have joined the University; and the physical plant has grown with the construction of the Thayer Street Quad and the addition to the John Carter Brown Library. Several major buildings, including Robinson Hall and the Catherine Bryan Dill Center for the Performing Arts-Stuart Theatre, have been renovated as well.

Gregorian also has overseen the University's Campaign for the Rising Generation, the largest comprehensive fund-raising campaign in Brown and Rhode Island history, which concluded June 30, 1996, having raised $534 million - 118 percent of its original goal. Since Gregorian's arrival at Brown, the University's endowment has grown from $373 million to $802 million (as of June 30, 1996).

During his inaugural address, Gregorian urged institutions of higher learning to address pressing national problems, particularly the need to reform and improve the nation's educational system. Among the most dramatic efforts to that end were the establishment at Brown of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform and the dramatic growth of the Coalition of Essential Schools, one of the oldest and best-known school reform organizations in the nation. Gregorian also established the Leadership Alliance, uniting historically black colleges and universities with some of the nation's most elite universities. Those institutions now work together to recruit, develop leadership and retain excellent scholarly talent from minority groups for the nation's professoriate.

Gregorian has continued the University's tradition of public service through Brown's membership in Health and Education Leadership for Providence (HELP), a coalition of the city's hospitals, colleges and universities, and its participation in the Providence Plan, a joint effort between the University and the City of Providence to erase poverty from the city's neighborhoods by the end of the decade.

The rich cultural life of the campus has been expanded with the President's Lecture Series. The series brings to campus internationally distinguished writers, scholars and statesmen, most recently Tom Wolfe, Eric Rouleau and Francine du Plessix Gray.

Throughout his career, Gregorian has been a thoughtful spokesman for education and libraries through his work at the University of Texas-Austin, the University of Pennsylvania and Brown, and in his former capacity as president of the New York Public Library. Gregorian also serves pro bono as an advisor to the Annenberg Foundation in its work on the half-billion-dollar Annenberg Challenge to the Nation, announced in 1993 to energize and support promising school reform.

Born in Tabriz, Iran, Gregorian received his B.A. degree (cum laude) from Stanford University in 1958 in history and humanities, and his Ph.D. in 1964, also in history and humanities.

He has taught at San Francisco State University, the University of California-Los Angeles, the New School for Social Research, Brown, the University of Texas-Austin, and the University of Pennsylvania. In 1974 he became Pennsylvania's first dean of the faculty of arts and sciences and in 1978 the university's 23rd provost and chief academic officer.

Gregorian is the recipient of scores of fellowships, honorary degrees and awards. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

October 1996