Indian American Couple Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon Gift USD 100 Million to New York University’s College

Perhaps the largest philanthropic gifts by a member of the Indian American community, a NY couple has donated USD 100 million to the New York University’s School of Engineering.

Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon’s donation will principally support faculty hiring and academic programs and is intended to build on the engineering school’s existing practice of cross-disciplinary innovation and entrepreneurship, NYU President John Sexton and the school’s dean Katepalli R Sreenivasan said in a joint statement in New York.

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.

A former partner at McKinsey and Company, Chandrika is chair of Tandon Capital Associates, a financial advisory firm she founded in 1992. She also is a Grammy-nominated musician, with an album, Soul Call, nominated for Best Contemporary World Music in 2011. Ranjan 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.

Chandrika Tandon is also the sister of PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, who is the CEO of PepsiCo   and on Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list.

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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.

Ms. 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.”

Sreenivasan said the Tandons’ act of generosity is remarkable not only because of the size of the gift, but also because it recognises the importance of a school with which they had no prior affiliation.

Funds from the gift will be used to further enhance programs, including wireless, cybersecurity, and digital education and gaming and enhance interdisciplinary programs such as financial engineering, technology management and innovation, and entrepreneurship in important areas such as clean energy.

In 2010, Harvard Business School had received a gift of USD 50 million from Tata Companies, the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Tata Education and Development Trust, philanthropic entities of the Tata Group. The gift was the largest from an international donor in the School’s 102-year history.

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