Indian American couple donates $2.5 million to establish Raj & Kamla Gupta Governance Institute at Drexel University

Drexel President John Fry and Raj Gupta
Drexel President John Fry and Raj Gupta courtesy of Drexel University

The investment will have a bigger impact across all disciplines of the university – both for-profit and non-profit sector.

Indian American businessman Raj Gupta, the chairman of Aptiv PLC and Avantor Inc along with his wife Kamla has gifted $2.5 million to Drexel University, Philadelphia.

According to the official press release of the university, the amount gifted by Guptas will be used for establishing the Raj and Kamla Gupta Governance Institute under the University’s LeBow College of Business.

The Gupta Institute will house the existing Center for Corporate Governance and the new Center for Nonprofit Governance, each providing world-renowned business leaders with dynamic governance insights, according to the press statement.

According to the release, the Haas family and the Haas family foundations matched the gift of Guptas bringing the total investment in the Institute to $5 million.

Bill McNabb, who is currently the chairman of The Vanguard Group will become the first executive in residence of the Raj and Kamla Gupta Governance Institute.

At his position, McNabb will foster high-impact collaboration between corporate executives, key governance thought leaders and faculty members to address the present needs of industry as they arise, positively impacting the business community at large.

“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,” said Drexel President John Fry. “Their support will give Drexel national prominence in an important field with lasting implications.”

Raj Gupta, an alumnus of Drexel announced the new Institute during a dinner commemorating the 10th anniversary of Directors Dialogue held on April 16.

The dinner was attended by more than 250 foremost business leaders of the area and featured keynote speaker Jay Clayton, chairman, US Securities and Exchange Commission.

“This investment allows the Institute to continue to be at the forefront of governance issues through a unique blend of programming, thought leadership, and research that answers industry’s unexplored questions and expands the boundaries of current practitioner and academic knowledge,” said Patti Connolly, executive director of the Gupta Institute.

The release also said that the investment made by Gupta will have a bigger impact across all disciplines of the university – both for-profit and non-profit sector.

“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. 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,” said Gupta.

Gupta has 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,” that provided tips, not only on what makes a good CEO, but also on what makes a good employee hire, how to balance success with life outside the workplace and what makes an individual a better employee. The book included narratives from people close to Gupta throughout his business career, providing insight on how those who worked with him viewed him as a leader. The book was hailed as “a compelling account for all who are navigating a corner office, a boardroom or their life course.”

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 US 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.

“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. 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,” said Gupta.

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