Published April 10, 2014
Good evening! I want to start by saying how deeply honored and humbled I am to receive this great honor. This is a profoundly meaningful award to me personally—and to receive it from my son makes it infinitely more so.
We sometimes joke in our family that education is the Tripathi family business. In fact, Manish, whom you just met, represents the 5th generation of Tripathi educators.
The love of education—and the belief that it is a noble pathway to opportunity, understanding, tolerance, and enlightenment—is something I have learned to cherish from a very young age.
As a boy growing up in India, I wanted to teach, as my father and grandfather had done before me—or perhaps become a high school principal.
Growing up in a tiny village in India, I would never have imagined that one day I would have the opportunity to lead a major American research university—a university that is literally a small city in its own right, serving a global community of thousands of students, faculty, and staff from every corner of the world.
But as my personal dream has evolved, I have always carried with me this lifelong commitment to education—and the conviction that knowledge can change the world.
This is the value that Kamlesh and I have sought, above all, to pass down to our sons. And it is this same tradition that I hope to pass on, even in the smallest way, through my work as an educator—as a faculty member and mentor to students over many decades, and now as President of our great research university.
For me, the opportunities created through knowledge, discovery, and shared ideas are the truest path to building community.
I know that this conviction is one that is deeply shared by the National Federation for Just Communities.
That is why this honor resonates so deeply with me. And I am deeply touched and humbled to be honored in the company of such great and inspiring community leaders as those who share the stage this evening.
My heartfelt thanks.