New York: In one of the largest philanthropic gifts by a member of the Indian-American community, a couple has donated USD 100 million to New York University’s engineering school, which will now be renamed after them in recognition of its gift. Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon’s gift to the New York University’s School of Engineering will principally support faculty hiring and academic programs and is intended to build on the engineering school’s existing practice of cross-disciplinary innovation and entrepreneurship, NYU President John Sexton and the school’s dean Katepalli R Sreenivasan said in a joint statement here.
The school will be renamed the NYU Tandon School of Engineering in recognition of the Tandons “generosity and their belief in the school’s mission and promise,” the statement said. Chandrika 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.
Ranjan 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.
The Tandons’ donation is believed to be the largest philanthropic gift by a member of the Indian-American community, the university said. “Getting to know the engineering school was truly electrifying. The imagination and inventiveness of the students and faculty as they worked together on real world problems, the cutting-edge work being done both within the school and collaboratively across schools in such diverse areas like the arts, medicine, education, incubators; the entrepreneurial spirit that pervades the place — all this inspired us,” she said.
Sreenivasan said the Tandons’ act of generosity is remarkable not only because of the size of the gift, but also because it recognises the importance of a school with which they had no prior affiliation. Funds from the gift will be used to further enhance programs, including wireless, cybersecurity, and digital education and gaming and enhance interdisciplinary programs such as financial engineering, technology management and innovation, and entrepreneurship in important areas such as clean energy.
In 2010, Harvard Business School had received a gift of USD 50 million from Tata Companies, the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Tata Education and Development Trust, philanthropic entities of the Tata Group. The gift was the largest from an international donor in the School’s 102-year history.