New York University School of Engineering gets $ 100 Million Gift from Indian Couple

By Abha Manakatala - Tue Oct 06, 10:04 am


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New York University President John Sexton and Katepalli R. Sreenivasan, Dean of the School of Engineering, today announced a $100 million gift from Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon for engineering at NYU.

The gift — which will principally support faculty hiring and academic programs — 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.

The school will be re-named the NYU Tandon School of Engineering in recognition of the Tandons’ generosity and their belief in the school’s mission and promise. The University has agreed to a challenge from the donors to raise an additional, separate $50 million, which will be principally focused on scholarship aid.

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 is also 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.

The Tandons’ donation is believed to be the largest philanthropic gift by a member of the Indian-American community.

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.

Tandon said, “We feel privileged to be able to participate in the transformation that is happening at NYU and at the School of Engineering. As a Trustee of NYU, I have had a front row seat to the energy and excitement of the Global Network University and the scale of possibility it presents.

“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 so. We truly believe that these students with the benefit of NYU’s global vision will make the world a better place.

“We also deeply respect the school’s extraordinary history and are honored to have a part in moving it forward with the visionary leadership team at the school and at the University.

“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.”

Dr. Sexton said, “As an institution, NYU is good at many things. One is taking a program or a school or even an entire university to the next level of excellence. We often see the promise of greatness where others fail to see it; and, when we do, we act on it. That is the outlook that Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon have too. They understand how dynamic our School of Engineering is and how their gift can accelerate its magnificent trajectory. This will transform engineering at NYU and will have an impact that will reach far beyond its students and faculty, beyond even NYU. It is expected to boost New York City’s — and especially Brooklyn’s — growing tech sector and, most of all, it will yield generations of innovators who, connected to NYU’s global network, will solve pressing and challenging problems throughout the world. I am immensely grateful to Chandrika and Ranjan.”

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