Michigan Tech

MTU News

HOUGHTON MI -- Kanwal and Ann Rekhi of Monte Sereno, California, have provided a $5 million gift to Michigan Technological University. The gift will support the university's planned Center for Integrated Learning and Information Technology. The center will include a new library, classrooms, and a home for the computer science and computer engineering programs.

Kanwal Rekhi, a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur and an immigrant from India, is a graduate of Michigan Tech, where he earned a master's in electrical engineering in 1969.

"We are obviously very pleased with Kanwal and Ann Rekhi's leadership gift," said John Sellars, senior vice president for advancement and university relations at Michigan Tech. "Kanwal is a visionary leader in the software industry and having the Rekhi name on campus is an honor for the University. Kanwal and Ann are philanthropists who support projects that have touched the lives of thousands of young people."

In 1982, Rekhi founded Excelan, a pioneering computer networking company. He served the company as its chief executive officer and was named "Entrepreneur of the Year" by Venture magazine in 1987.

In 1989, Excelan merged with Novell and Rekhi became executive vice president of corporate technology. He managed the formation of Novell's UNIX systems group and became one of a three-member Office of the President that ran the company.

After his stint at Novell, he became involved with many Silicon Valley start-ups, including Exodus, Ambit, CyberMedia, Versata, Apptivity, and Placeware.

Rekhi now devotes much of his time to his role as chairman of TiE --The IndUS Entrepreneurs -- a non-profit organization that promotes wealth creation through entrepreneurship. The organization, based in Santa Clara, California, focuses on immigrants from India, many of whom have settled in California's Silicon Valley.

Rekhi received Michigan Tech's Distinguished Service Award in 1994 and an honorary doctorate in science in 1997. He also serves on the president's national advisory board.

"Success did not come easy for Kanwal Rekhi -- he earned it," said Michigan Tech president Curt Tompkins. "He is a role model for others who want to turn their dreams into reality through hard work. He has provided significant counsel to the University in the area of information technology."

The Rekhis' gift supports Michigan Tech's Leaders for Innovation campaign, an effort to raise at least $140 million for the university. The campaign will provide funds for scholarships, facilities, and the university's endowment. Scheduled to run through 2003, the campaign has already raised more than $86 million.