A former student of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) has gifted a $1million fellowship To honor his parents, Rajiv L. Gupta, M.S. '69, has established the Phool Prakash and Rukmini Sahai Graduate Fellowship Endowment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, which will support Cornell students from his native India.
Gupta, who received a master's degree in operations research and information engineering from Cornell, created the $1 million fellowship through his family's Ujala Foundation, which focuses on health care and education.
"This gift will have a profound impact on our biomedical engineering program by enhancing our resources and ability to attract and develop the most promising new scholars in this critical field of study and practice," said Lance Collins, the Joseph Silbert Dean of the College of Engineering.
Gupta arrived in Ithaca in 1968 as a newlywed with his wife, Kamla Varshney, and with little experience in U.S. culture. He credits Cornell with giving him a strong education and the opportunity to start a successful career in this country. Gupta joined Rohm and Haas Co., a global specialty materials company, in 1971 as an analyst; in 1999, he was elected chairman and CEO, and in 2005 became president.
Gupta said he believes the greatest gift to a person is an education, which motivates his philanthropy. His late parents valued education and ensured that their six children were raised to be independent and well-rounded. Gupta said the gift recognizes their legacy and serves as a "token of appreciation."
Mike Shuler, the James M. and Marsha McCormick Chair of Biomedical Engineering and Samuel B. Eckert Professor of Chemical Engineering, said Gupta's generosity will help to "grow this department, which links engineering, life sciences and clinical practice, allowing students and researchers to view human health problems from the bedside as well as the lab.
"Cornell is uniquely positioned to accelerate innovation and provide the best education in this burgeoning field, and the generous commitment from Raj and Kamla comes at a critical time when we need to support the top graduate students in this field who help ensure that we attract and retain the top faculty as well," Shuler said.