Indian-American gifts $2.5 Million to university to set up new institute

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Interviewed by Drexel President John Fry during an event at Drexel, Raj Gupta (right) recounts the numerous challenges he has overcome and the lessons he’s learned on his path to success as a CEO. (Photo: Drexel.edu)

An Indian-American businessman and his wife have bestowed a $2.5 Million gift to Philadelphia-based Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. It is half of a grant bein used to establish the  Raj & Kamla Gupta Governance Institute.

An alumnus of Drexel, Raj Gupta is chairman of two companies, Aptiv PLC, a global technology company, and Avantor Inc., a pharmaceutical company. He and his wife Kamla invested $2.5 million in the Institute that will bear their name while the Haas family and the Haas family foundations matched the gift bringing the total investment in the Institute to $5 million, the university announced on its website.

The Gupta Institute will house the existing Center for Corporate Governance and the new Center for Nonprofit Governance, each aiming to provide world-renowned business leaders with dynamic governance insights, for students enrolled at the institution, the university said.

Bill McNabb, chairman of The Vanguard Group, the world’s largest mutual fund manager, has been named as its first executive in residence with a view to fostering high-impact collaboration between corporate executives, key governance thought leaders and faculty members to address the present needs of industry as they arise, the university said in a press release. McNabb serves on various for-profit and non-profit boards, and was chairman and CEO of The Vanguard Group until December 2017.

“The generous support from Raj, Kamla and the Haas family will position the Institute at the forefront of governance issues for public, private and non-profit industries,” Drexel President John Fry is quoted saying on the university website. “Their support will give Drexel national prominence in an important field with lasting implications.”

The new Institute was announced April 16 during a dinner commemorating the 10th anniversary of Directors Dialogue, an annual full-day program by the Center for Corporate Governance designed for corporate leaders to promote candid discussions of important governance issues, supported by the latest practical research. The dinner was attended by more than 250 of the area’s foremost business leaders and featured keynote speaker Jay Clayton, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, university said.

The university said the Gupta Institute, programming will expand not only to organizations in the non-profit sector but also across disciplines allowing organizations at both the for-profit (public and private) and non-profit sector to benefit from research

“My association with Drexel dates back to 1970 as an MBA student and subsequently a trustee and member of LeBow College of Business and Center for Corporate Governance advisory boards,” Raj Gupta is quoted saying on the website. “It is indeed an honor for Kamla and I to be part of the future contributions that the newly established Institute will make towards improving governance across a wide range of organizations,” he added.

Throughout his professional journey, Gupta served on various boards—including Hewlett-Packard, Tyco International and The Vanguard Group. In 2016, he coauthored the book, “My American Journey, Eight Dollars and A Dream.” Gupta joined Rohm and Haas in 1971 as a financial analyst. Working his way up in the company, Gupta was elected to the board of directors and named vice chairman in January 1999 before becoming chairman and chief executive officer in October 1999. He assumed the additional title of president in early 2005. In 2009, Gupta left Rohm and Haas after its $15.3 billion acquisition by the Dow Chemical Company (now owned by DowDuPont).

Gupta is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. In April 2005, the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce named Gupta as one of the top 10 most influential Asian Americans in business. In 2006, Gupta was named Drexel’s 53rd Business Leader of the Year by the LeBow College of Business. In 2007, Gupta was awarded The Society of Chemical Industry’s most prestigious honor, the Chemical Industry Medal.

Gupta earned an MBA in finance from Drexel’s LeBow College of Business in 1972. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in operations research from Cornell University. The Guptas have two daughters, Amita and Vanita.