December 2011

Higher Education as a Tool for Building Global Community

A few weeks ago, The Dallas Morning News nominated Naveen Jindal as a candidate for Texan of the Year, a recognition bestowed annually, and one for which I was deeply honored to be a finalist two years ago.

As School of Management alumni surely know, SOM was renamed the Naveen Jindal School, a recognition of Naveen’s generous and transformational gift this fall. The News article about his Texan of the Year nomination described his philanthropy, noting that Naveen made his mark on Texas from halfway around the world. Born and raised in India, Naveen Jindal earned his UT Dallas MBA in 1992.
Naveen Jindal
Today, Jindal Steel and Power Limited employs more than 15,000 at steel, mining, and oil and gas operations throughout India and in China, South America, Africa and the Middle East. Among many international accolades bestowed on Jindal Steel and Power, one is particularly impressive. Boston Consulting Group, in its annual ranking of the world’s greatest “value creators” placed Jindal Steel and Power second among more than 4,000 global companies. Their study measured not just one year, but a four-year period from 2005 through 2009.

Naveen also serves India in Parliament—though his first experience in elective office came here, as president of Student Government. During those years, he noticed that U.S. flags could be flown by any citizen. On returning home, he challenged laws forbidding display of the Indian flag by citizens, laws that were a vestige of colonialism. Because of Naveen, Indian citizens today display their banner much as U.S. citizens fly their flags.

The role of international students at U.S. universities is often commented on in both the press and by elected leadership. Too often there is an implication or outright statement of concern regarding these students coming to the U.S., benefiting from the educational system supported by our resources, and then returning home, taking the expertise and learning they acquired at our expense with them.

Chart

It is my observation that, whether highly qualified internationals study, then return home, or choose to stay here, there is a net gain for the University and for our country. In the more and more global society we inhabit, isn’t it best to develop relationships with our neighbors—especially the very smartest, brightest ones? How better than to share something at which the U.S. excels, higher education. No one can quantify exactly the gains Naveen Jindal made through studying at UT Dallas. But he says this is where he began to really understand business and public policy. He clearly understands the need for private support of opportunities for others to learn and achieve. If he learned any part of this here, it can be said that UT Dallas has had a hand in creating the kind of future that makes the world a better place for us all.


UT Dallas


About This Newsletter

The President’s Viewpoint is a periodic newsletter distributed to a select group of alumni, friends, faculty and staff. It comes from the desk of Dr. David E. Daniel, president of The University of Texas at Dallas, and provides the ultimate insider’s view on the news and concerns of the University.