Rajendra Vattikuti made his fortune resolving computer software problems connected with Y2K and donated $40 million in 2001 to support cancer research. The gift created the Vattikuti Urology Institute at the Henry Ford Health System and the Vattikuti Cancer Institute at William Beaumont Hospitals in Detroit. Monte Ahuja, like most of the students who came in the 1950s and 1960, brought barely enough money to buy food for a day, donated $30 million to University Hospital in Cleveland to build the Ahuja Medical Center. Monte and Usha Ahuja’s donation was the largest single donation in the 140-year history of the university. Monte founded Transtar Industries and built it into the most successful after-market transmission parts distributor in the world. Gururaj Deshpande, co-founder and chairman of Sycamore Networks in Boston, Massachusetts, and his wife Jaishree Deshpande, established the Deshpande Center for Technology Innovation at the MIT School of Engineering with a $20 million gift in 2002. The Deshpande Foundation funds over 50 NGOs in India in the areas of agriculture, microfinance, livelihood, education and health. Dr Kiran Patel and his wife Dr Pallavi Patel gave $18.5 million in 2005 to the University of South Florida to build the Kiran C Patel Center for Global Solutions on the university campus. The large donation entitled the university to get state matching funds of $16 million totaling the donation worth $34.5-million. Both the Patels have contributed generously to several other philanthropic projects in Tampa such as a performing arts conservatory and a research center at Pepin Heart Hospital. In India they have set up a rural village restoration project in Gujarat while in Zambia they have set up Patel Hospice Center in Lusaka, Zambia and a heart hospital in Dar-e-Salaam, Tanzania.
In the past few years, the number of India related chairs or programs have increased several folds. Such programs are in existence at Columbia, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas, Austin, UCB, UCLA, University of Chicago, Indiana University and State University of New York at Stony Brook
Vinod Gupta, founder and CEO of InfoUSA, has set up Vinod Gupta Charitable Foundation and established the Vinod Gupta School of Management and the Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur and at his birth place Rampur, Shrimati Ram Rati Gupta Women’s College, William Jefferson Clinton Science and Technology Center, and Hillary Rodham Clinton Mass Communication Center for Journalism and Media Management. Raj Soin, chairman of MTC Technologies in Dayton, Ohio, donated $20 million to establish a business school at Wright State University. He also supports the Soin Scholar Program, which funds the MBA education at Wright State University for three graduates every year from Delhi College of Engineering, his alma mater. He has established a non-profit 55-bed Sukh Dev Raj Soin Hospital in rural Haryana. Krishan Joshi, founder and chairman of UES, Inc, a high-technology research company in Dayton, Ohio established the Krishan and Vicky Joshi Research Center in 2006 at the Wright State University College of Engineering and Computer Science with his donation of $10 million. John P. Kapoor, a native of Amritsar, who came to the USA for graduate studies with a fellowship from the University of Buffalo, in Buffalo, New York, gave $11 million towards the construction of new building for the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2008. Romesh Wadhwani, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur donated $5 million for bioscience center to his alma mater Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 2008.
In the past few years, the number of India related chairs or programs in the universities have increased several folds. Today, such programs are in existence at Columbia, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas, Austin, and University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Los Angeles, University of Chicago, Indiana University and State University of New York at Stony Brook.
The primary goal of funding a chair or program at a university is to create awareness and understanding of some aspect of India’s culture such as arts, music, literature, drama, philosophy, religion, languages, social and political system. The income from the grant is used in a variety of ways such as hosting of lectures, seminars, research conferences, publication of books, offering courses to students, encouraging study abroad, etc. to achieve the objectives outlined by the endowment.
To be continued...