Farvardin, Eisgruber honored with prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor

Nariman Farvardin and Chris Eisgruber, the presidents of two of the state’s most prestigious universities, are among the 2024 cohort for the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Presented since 1986, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor is one of the nation’s most prestigious awards.

Farvardin, the president of Stevens Institute of Technology, and Eisgruber, the president of Princeton University, join a group that includes New York Stock Exchange Chair Sharon Bowen and Craig’s List founder and philanthropist Craig Newmark, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. and others.

Nariman Farvardin. (Stevens Institute of Technology)

The ceremony will take place May 18 at Ellis Island’s Great Hall, symbolizing the gateway to opportunity for millions of immigrants to the U.S. The event will bring together distinguished honorees, dignitaries and leaders from various fields to celebrate the recipients’ remarkable achievements and contributions to American society.

Farvardin was recognized for strengthening the stature of and increasing enrollment at Stevens, especially among women and minorities, expanding educational opportunities that will have generational impacts, as well as his technological prowess, entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation.

Since becoming president of Stevens in 2011, Farvardin has led its transformation, including growth and improvement across key university metrics, from applications and enrollment to the academic profile of students and value of research awards. Under his leadership, Stevens adopted an ambitious strategic plan that paved the way for the university to become a nationally recognized, globally respected technological university.

Through his efforts, Stevens invested more than $500 million in a state-of-the-art campus, including an iconic university center, a technology-powered academic building, renovations of 100% of classrooms, new student spaces and more. Moreover, he has made student success the most important metric of progress. As a result of this focus, in 2023, Stevens was named a “High Flyer” by Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Talent Initiative for its innovative programs for low-income students.

Eisgruber was honored for the depth of his work at Princeton. While the school has received top honors on many important global lists of universities, Eisgruber often has said he is most proud of the way the school has been able to increase access for undergraduates.

The school also was recently selected to be the home of the state’s AI Hub — and will lead the mission it shares with Gov. Phil Murphy to make New Jersey the center of artificial intelligence research and implementation throughout the East Coast and beyond.

As a native of Iran, Farvardin said the award carries extra significance.

Chris Eisgruber. (Princeton University)

“I am deeply honored to be selected as an Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient, along with so many other deserving members of the 2024 cohort, and I’m immensely grateful to the United States of America for giving me the opportunity to build a life, experience the joy of a family, pursue my career passions and contribute to the success of future generations,” he said.

“My experience as an immigrant has shaped my personal and professional journey, giving me the opportunity to overcome challenges through resilience, perseverance and hard work.

“I am proud of the progress we have made at Stevens in increasing access to a world-class STEM education for talented and deserving students. These students have the opportunity and the obligation to make the world a better place, and I am grateful to play a role in giving them the tools they need to contribute to this important goal.”

For the complete list of honorees, click here.