By Arun Kumar
Washington, Oct 5 (IANS) An Indian-American couple has announced a $100 million gift to the New York University School of Engineering in what is believed to be the largest philanthropic gift by a member of the Indian-American community.
In recognition of Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon’s generosity and their belief in the school’s mission and promise, the school will be renamed the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.
The University has also agreed to a challenge from the donors to raise an additional, separate $50 million, which will be principally focused on scholarship aid, said NYU president John Sexton and Katepalli R. Sreenivasan, dean of the School of Engineering.
“We feel privileged to be able to participate in the transformation that is happening at NYU and at the School of Engineering,” said Chandrika Tandon.
“We want to give back to the city that has given us so much. Our hope is that this gift will bring many more of us together to re-invent engineering, advance New York’s efforts to become a science and tech capital, and foster the talents of young innovators, applied scientists, and entrepreneurs.
“We believe this is just the beginning,” she said.
The gift — which will principally support faculty hiring and academic programmes — is intended to build on the engineering school’s existing practice of cross-disciplinary innovation and entrepreneurship and achieve new levels of academic excellence in engineering.
Chandrika Tandon is a member of the Board of Overseers of NYU’s business school, a member of the NYU Board of Trustees, and leads the NYU President’s Global Council.
A former partner at McKinsey and Company, she is chair of Tandon Capital Associates, a financial advisory firm she founded in 1992.
She also is a Grammy-nominated musician, with an album, “Soul Call”, nominated for Best Contemporary World Music in 2011.
Her husband, Ranjan Tandon, is an engineer by training and a graduate of the Harvard Business School.
He is founder and chair of Libra Advisors, a hedge fund he founded in 1990 that is now a family office.
Engineering was only recently restored to NYU after a 40-year absence when NYU merged with Polytechnic University in 2014.
Since affiliating, the university has invested approximately $100 million in engineering, with improvements in facilities, faculty hiring, admissions, and fundraising, and has also established the related Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP).
This gift will accelerate the School of Engineering’s academic advancement, enabling it to develop new areas of strength in engineering and to hire additional faculty.