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Fund Hits New High
Loyal Alumni Boost Annual Fund To New High
"I am so proud of our alumni and friends," said Engineering
Fund Chair James M. Li '68, '70, '76 as he announced the record-
breaking $1.6 million Annual Fund total for the fiscal year 2000
that ended on June 30. "These results show that many alumni
feel as I do, that we want to give back to the School that gave
us our start."
The most recent alumnus to enunciate the same message is Vikram
S. Kumar '99, a second year medical student in Harvard Medical School-MIT's
Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Mr. Kumar, as the recipient
of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, received
half his graduate school tuition and a stipend of $20,000. He gave
$1,080 of that money to each of the five schools he credits for
In the note accompanying his contribution, Mr. Kumar wrote: "Now
I am so proud to be able to give back! . . .With professors like
Dr. (Perwez) Shahabuddin (IEOR) and mentors like Professor Rafael
Yuste (Biological Sciences), Professor Hamid Dabashi (Middle East
and Asian Languages and Culture) and Professor Lewis Freeman (lecturer
for Professional Presentation for Engineers), my education at Columbia
has been the best!"
"In Hinduism, there is Guru Dakshina, which means giving to
the teacher," he said. "This is my way of acknowledging
the Engineering School. I chose to give $1,080 because it is a variation
of the number of breaths a person averages per year according to
Hindu thought, which is 10,800,000."
Besides Columbia SEAS, he gave donations to the Modern School,
his high school in India; the Indian Institute of Technology, where
he spent his first year of college before transferring to SEAS;
MIT, and Harvard.
"I am heartened by young alumni like Vikram Kumar," said
Mr. Li. "While I am very pleased at our overall Fund total,
we are still facing the challenge of increasing the number of alumni
who give, because, like it or not, alumni participation in the Annual
Fund translates into 'alumni satisfaction' that national rankings
use to rate engineering schools."