The trustees of the New York Public Library have voted to rename the Center for Research in the Humanities to the Vartan Gregorian Center for Research in the Humanities. The change recognizes the profound contribution of historian and public intellectual Vartan Gregorian (1934-2021), NYPL president between 1981–89, who is credited with restoring and revitalizing the Library—structurally, fiscally, and reputationally as an essential civic and educational center.
Born in 1934 in Tabriz, Iran to Armenian parents, he learned the value of reading and libraries in his youth. At age 11, he began working part-time as a page at the Armenian library. In his memoir, The Road to Home: My Life and Times, he recounted that the library “proved to be a great oasis of privacy, peace, and occasional solitude. I loved to read, and I read everything…the library opened up a new world.”
After a meteoric career in the world of academia in the U.S, where he had moved in his 20s, Gregorian instead took the top job at the New York Public Library in 1981. He is credited with restoring the financial health of the institution and opening a new chapter for its expansion.
You may read an NYPL announcement here.