Large endowments by Indians in USA and in India: Asia Sentinel

Following are excerpts from

The US$50 million donated to Harvard by the Tata conglomerate is the largest gift received by the school from an international donor in its 102-year history. The Mahindra Group invested US$10 million in a new academic and residential building – the Mahindra Humanities Center – on the school’s campus. Harvard will construct a Tata Hall for its Executive Education program in the group’s honor.

Both tycoons are Harvard alumni. Ratan Tata, 73, the chairman of Tata Sons Ltd, attended the school’s advanced management program – one of the three leadership programs offered by Harvard’s executive education program – in 1975. Mahindra, 55, vice chairman and managing director of one of India’s largest companies, Mahindra & Mahindra, earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Harvard Business School.

… Like the Tatas and Mahindras, ex-Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, along with his wife Rohini, also gifted Yale University with US$5 million to underwrite the Yale India Initiative some time back. The couple’s two children are Yale and Harvard alumni. Their daughter Janhavi graduated from Yale and is now pursuing a doctorate at Harvard while son Nihar is still studying at Yale.

Nilekani’s ex-colleague – Infosys co-founder and chief mentor N. R. Narayana Murthy – has also helped Harvard University initiate a new series on the literary heritage of India via a US$5.2 million endowment.

… Wipro founder Azim Premji is reportedly planning an endowment trust in India, modeled on the lines of the Harvard Management Company, which supports Harvard University’s educational goals. Nandan Nilekani gave US$5 million to his alumni IIT, Mumbai in 2000. The Tatas, similarly, have been in the forefront of donating generously to institutions of academic excellence in India.

Several IIT alumni have also made donations to their home institutions and other premier institutes of learning. IIT-Delhi has partnered with the Bharti Foundation to set up the Bharti School of Telecommunication Technology and Management. There’s also a Bharti Centre for Communication, Mumbai, set up in partnership with IIT-Powai. The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, has also succeeded in attracting private funding as well.

Besides this, Infosys is starting a campus in Hyderabad with the Georgia Institute of Technology, USA. Corporate houses and individuals are also entering primary education in a big way. The Bharti Foundation has started 236 Satya Bharti primary schools across the country.

October 29th, 2010

Georgia Tech’s plan in India; post-graduate research institutions in Andhra Pradesh

Following is an excerpt from a report in Economic Times.

Infosys Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kris Gopalakrishnan and Georgia Tech’s provost and vice president for academic affairs Gary Schuster recently signed a memorandum of understanding to partner on potential research and educational opportunities, Infosys said in a statement here.

"Georgia Tech is exploring the possibility of establishing a small, high quality post-graduate research institution in Hyderabad. The proposed Georgia Tech facility will include centres for excellence in information technology and information systems, energy systems, biotechnology and infrastructure studies," it said.

As part of the partnership, Infosys will collaborate on research projects of mutual interest in these areas of technology.

"Since Infosys has a presence both in Atlanta and Hyderabad, there are collaborative opportunities in both locations," the statement said quoting Schuster.

An older TOI article elaborates on Georgia Tech’s original plan. Following are some excerpts.

The US-based Georgia Institute of Technology has signed up with the southern state to set up two campuses at an estimated investment of $100 million over the next few years.

Georgia Tech will set up a campus in Hyderabad and later at Visakhapatnam by 2009-1010, on land purchased from the AP government.

The institute will initially start with a faculty of 10 and 200 doctoral students. There are further plans of setting up a special economic zone that will ensure successful industry-university interaction.

Experiences elsewhere, like Harvard and Wales in the UK suggest that such an interaction acts as a catalyst for research, economic development and technology commercialization.

There are ambitious ramp up plans. Says Vijay Madisetti, executive director of Georgia Tech’s India initiative and professor in its School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, "The campus is expected to grow over 10 years to about 100 faculty and 2,000 students co-located with a university-industry research park. We expect to work with private donors and the US and Indian industry to raise the necessary funding (approximately $100 million)."

Georgia Tech’s India campus will offer degrees recognized in the US, identical to those offered by its US collegiate counterparts. This will make Georgia Tech the first global university to do so in India. The initial set of master’s and doctoral programmes will be in the areas of information technology and hardware systems; biotechnology and healthcare; infrastructure research; and energy systems.

Says Madisetti, "The degree programmes will be taught by tenure-track and tenured Georgia Tech faculty, who are expected to possess the advantage of having study and research time spent on both US and Indian campuses."

While most students are expected to come from India, some would be from the US as well. Just as in the US, most students are likely to support through graduate research assistantships.

June 9th, 2010


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