Vartan Gregorian, the former president of Brown University, former provost of the University of Pennsylvania, and president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, an organization dedicated to education and world peace, died last Thursday in New York city. He was 87.

He was renowned for saving the New York Public Library in the 1980s when it had fallen on hard times, and had been a longtime visitor to West Tisbury, where he had family ties.

He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President George W. Bush, and other honors by President Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

He was born in Iran, the son of refugees from Armenia, but left Iran for secondary school in Lebanon. A scholarship from Stanford brought him to the United States. In the 1970s he became a United States citizen.

He is survived by three sons, a sister and five grandchildren.

He will be interred in West Tisbury beside his late wife, Clare Russell, whom he met when both were students at Stanford in the 1950s.