Naveen Jindal: Philanthropist Leader Shows the Way
In the almost two decades since Naveen Jindal earned his MBA from UT Dallas in 1992, he has become a leading industrialist, ascendant statesman and driving force for higher education in his home country of India.
Named a UT Dallas Distinguished Alumnus last year, he recently invigorated support of his alma mater by presenting the University its single-largest alumni gift ever, part of a joint, $30 million gift presented with fellow alumni, Charles and Nancy Davidson to the School of Management.
“It’s very important to build institutions of higher learning,” Mr. Jindal said about the philosophy behind his philanthropy.
“My vision and desire is that the [Jindal] School of Management becomes the school of choice for some of the brightest and best individuals who will truly lead us into the next generation, leaders who will truly embrace the global vision [and] balance the needs of the people with the environment in an ethical and sustainable manner.”
In memory of his father, Om Prakash Jindal, Mr. Jindal started the O.P. Jindal Global University in his home state of Haryana, India. JGU focuses on business, international affairs, law and public policy. Through it, Mr. Jindal, who serves as the institution’s chancellor, said, “We hope to make a meaningful contribution to knowledge creation and nation building.”
Mr. Jindal’s business career has roots in the O.P. Jindal Group, the multibillion-dollar family conglomerate his father built from steel-pipe trading ventures in the 1950s. The youngest of O.P.’s four sons, Naveen serves as chairman and managing director of Jindal Steel and Power Limited, a steel manufacturer that has diversified into cement production, mining, oil and gas, and power generation. Mr. Jindal is credited with changing JSPL from a money loser to a vigorous achiever. Named to the Forbes Asia list of Fab 50 Companies in 2009 and 2010, JSPL also was rated the No. 2 value creator in the world, based on total shareholder return, in 2010 Boston Consulting Group rankings.
A national record holder in India for skeet shooting and an adept polo player, Mr. Jindal was described in a 2009 Forbes Asia profile as “more interested in sports than in the family trade” as a youth. But at UT Dallas, he found another passion, politics. He served first as Student Government vice president, then president, at the same time earning the Student Leader of the Year Award.
Inspired by frequent and proud displays of the U.S. flag on campus, Mr. Jindal later successfully challenged India’s Flag Code, which had allowed the banner to be put on view only on special occasions. The multi-year court battle birthed his parliamentary career. Like his father before him, Mr. Jindal won a seat in the Lok Sabha, Parliament’s lower house. He serves his home district of Kurukshetra. Now in his second five-year term, he champions health and educational facilities for his district. He also backs a clean environment, a hunger-free society, an end to corruption, population stabilization, women’s empowerment and sports of all kinds.
— Story by Kris Imherr
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