Home / People / #Generosity: This Indian-origin couple just donated $100 MILLION to New York University.

#Generosity: This Indian-origin couple just donated $100 MILLION to New York University.

An Indian-origin couple has donated $100 million (£60 million) to New York University (NYU) in one of the largest philanthropic gifts to the world-renowned institution.

The funds will go towards NYU’s engineering school which will be re-named after Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon as the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

Mr Tandon, an engineer by training and a graduate of the Harvard Business School, is founder of Libra Advisors, a $2.5 billion hedge fund based out of New York.  His musician wife Chandrika went to business school in India before working for the consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

She is also 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.

Mrs Tandon said she and her husband were motivated by their passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“We deeply respect the school’s extraordinary history and are honoured to have a part in moving it forward with the visionary leadership team at the school and at the University”, she said.

“More broadly, Ranjan and I are great believers in STEM education, in the applied sciences, and in the analytic and creative disciplines that such an education develops.  And 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 reinvent 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”, Mrs Tandon added.

The NYU’s engineering school originally opened in 1854 as the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute.

Graduates include former Yahoo Chairman Alfred Amoroso and biochemist Jasper Herbert Kane.

In 2014, after a merger, the institute became the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, one of NYU’s 19 institutes.

The engineering school now has approximately 5,000 students.

Martin Lipton, chairman of the NYU Board of Trustees, said: “As I look back over many decades of association with NYU, few developments will bring me as much satisfaction as restoring engineering to the University.  And that’s why I am especially gratified by the Tandons’ wonderful gift: because it will help propel engineering at NYU so far.  It is only fitting that the school will bear the name of people who are so visionary.”

The Tandon’s’ donation is believed to be the largest philanthropic gift by a member of America’s large and influential Indian community.

In 2010, Harvard Business School received a gift of $50 million from Tata Companies, the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Tata Education and Development Trust, philanthropic entities of the Tata Group.

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