Vinod Gupta is a name, known to most people related to IIT Kharagpur, as a philanthropist, who despite a modest background from a small town in Uttar Pradesh, not only reached the pinnacle of success but gave the IIT education a new direction defining the path of success for others. He is the pioneer of the management and law education in the IIT system.
Vinod graduated with B.Tech. in Agriculture and Food Engineering in 1967 and shifted base to USA like many IITians in those days. But It took him only a few years to make his first contribution to his Alma Mater in India. In fact, Vinod is among those IITians who initiated the culture of Alumni Giving Back at IITs. He contributed many times till 1993, when he helped bring a transformative change in IIT’s education. Vinod donated the seed fund of $2 million to IIT Kharagpur helped establishing Vinod Gupta School of Management (VGSOM). Today VGSOM rank among the Tier-I business schools in India. “I would say that number one priority is teaching the students leadership qualities, it is not just the book knowledge but how to be a good public speaker, how to be a good communicator, how to be a good leader” said Vinod on recounting his motivation behind setting up the business school.
Later he funded the establishment of Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, which is among the top three law schools in India. “My future plans is anyway I can help to support the need of IIT education. The engineers from IIT can complete their MBA or Law from these schools and become better leaders. Today IP is the fastest growing legal profession and there is a lakh of people who could understand science and engineering, IP Law has a tremendous demand. I envision IIT to be an overall university” added Vinod.
Over the last years 25 years Vinod has contributed over $10 million for various causes related to IIT Kharagpur. Recently he donated $90000/- to IIT Kharagpur towards scholarships to 3rd year students in the Department of Agriculture and Food Engineering, his Hall of Residence and a class gift for his graduating batch of 1967. Vinod is also a favourite among the students from his erstwhile hostel, Radhakrishnan Hall, where he helped modernize the hostel facilities. His contributions to IIT Kharagpur are often cited as a forward-looking alumni who initiated various avenues of Giving Back among IITians. Vinod also co-led his class of 1967 in collectively contributing more than Rs. 1 crore and build a giant clock tower in the campus. A classroom at IIT Kharagpur’s Nalanda Academic Complex has been endowed after the his graduating batch to honour their contribution to the Institute. Vinod conceived the idea of ‘Learn, Earn and Return’, a concept now adopted by his Alma Mater, IIT Kharagpur as a special scholarship program to help fund needy and meritorious students.
A career spanning over 50 years, Vinod served as the CEO of infoGroup till 2008 and two companies, DatabaseUSA.com in 2010 and in 2011 the latter provides Business and Consumer leads. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as a trustee of the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Gupta was also the US consul general to Bermuda and was nominated by the President to be the US ambassador to Fiji. However, Vinod decided to give his wealth to charity.
Vinod recognizes the value of education and how it has changed his life. As a result, he has made education a primary beneficiary for his charitable contributions. Through his charitable foundation, Vinod Gupta has helped advance education across fields including: business, science, information technology, communications, and intellectual property law and wildlife preservation. Vinod donated about $10 million for Bill Clinton High School and Hilary Clinton Nursing School at his native village Rampur Maniharan, a small town near Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh state. He donated $1 million for a women’s polytechnic in his village. Thus through his philanthropy helping improve the lives of thousands of young people. The Government of Uttar Pradesh conferred Vinod Gupta for the prestigious UP Pravasi Bhartiya Sammaan 2017 which was awarded on January 4 by Mr. Akhilesh Yadav, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.