India born educationist honored for “lifelong commitment to building a stronger nation through volunteer service”
Dr Sanjay Rai, a noted Indian American educationist, has been honored with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for “lifelong commitment to building a stronger nation through volunteer service.”
The award honors those who complete more than 4,000 hours of service over the course of their lifetime through AmeriCorps, an independent US government agency that engages more than five million Americans in service.
“I am very fortunate to have opportunities as a first generation immigrant to contribute to the success of this nation,” said Dr Rai, senior vice president for academic affairs at Montgomery College, Maryland, who came to the US as an international student 32 years ago.
Read: Naveen Jain gets ASEI Lifetime Achievement award (December 22, 2020)
“The myriad institutions where I have worked and communities where I have lived with my family – all have embraced us with open arms.” he said. “Being part of these communities and helping them build a stronger foundation made me feel even more deeply that America is an extraordinary place for opportunity, acceptance and growth.
“This recognition from President (Joe) Biden for ‘those who combine an optimism about what can be with the resilience to turn that vision into reality…. who are willing to step up and volunteer in service of community and country are essential to the ongoing work of forming our more perfect union’ is something that I would have never dreamt 32 years ago when I came to this country as an international student with hopes and dreams for better opportunities,” Rai said.
Dr Rai is an outspoken champion and ardent supporter of innovations that advance student success in academic, career, technical, and workforce development programs, according to his official profile.
Since his appointment to his current position in 2014, he has transformed the Academic Affairs Division, leading efforts to pursue grants and resulting in the College’s first Department of Labor grants ($25M), as well as partnerships with business and industry leaders such as Amazon, Lockheed, Amarex, InfoSys and BIOTrain.
This has led to the development of innovative workforce development programs in Cybersecurity, Information Technology, Data Science, and Cloud Computing.
With Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the University of Allahabad, India, Dr Rai earned an MS degree from Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada before getting a PhD from the University of Arkansas.
Prior to his current position, he was Vice President and Provost, Germantown Campus, Montgomery College (2009-2013) and Instructional Dean, Science Engineering and Mathematics, Rockville Campus, Montgomery College (2004-July 2009).
Earlier, he served as Chair, Department of Mathematics at Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, Florida and as Associate Professor, Department of Natural Sciences at Texas A&M International University, Laredo, Texas.
Dr Rai is also a board member of Governor’s Life Sciences Advisory Board, Maryland Tech Council and Pinkney Innovation Complex Science and Technology Foundation, and Governance Committee member, Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation.