Venu Srinivasan Venu Srinivasan, who serves as chairman and managing director of TVS Motor Co. as well as chairman of Sundaram-Clayton Group, recently made a $150,000 gift to Purdue to establish scholarships for Indian students. (Photo courtesy of TVS Motors)

Building Bridges

Venu Srinivasan strengthens India's ties to Purdue

As a young man with a degree in hand from India’s College of Engineering, Guindy, Venu Srinivasan headed to Purdue in the 1970s for a master’s from the Krannert School of Management — then returned to his home country not only with the sheepskin but also with a wealth of expertise in operations, finance, industrial relations, and organizational behavior that would equip him to thrive in the family business.

Founded by his grandfather, the TVS Group originated as a bus and parcel van service in 1911 and now consists of more than 50 companies, including the TVS Motor Co., one of the world’s top five motorcycle manufacturers. Srinivasan serves as chairman and managing director of TVS Motor Co., as well as chairman of Sundaram-Clayton Group.

“I came back to the business and jumped in with both feet,” he recalls. “What I learned at Purdue I put into practice.”

Forty years on, Srinivasan is highly regarded across India’s industrial sector, having served as chairman of the National Safety Council for the Government of India and president of the Confederation of Indian Industries. He received India’s Padma Shri award in 2010 for his contributions in the field of trade and industry. Purdue awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2014.

This global industrialist intends to give back to society and to the University. Through a three-year gift of $150,000 per year, he is establishing scholarships for Indian students to attend Purdue, with the funds hosted in a charity in his home country.  “I would like to help India and at the same time help Purdue,” he says, “killing two birds with one stone!” Students living in India will be able to travel to Purdue and gain a rigorous education, along with the cachet that comes with a Purdue degree.

Srinivasan has already created a Purdue-to-India pathway: He has been running an internship program for Krannert graduate students for the last 10 years at TVS Motor. Through the program, students experience working in a developing country and, at the same time, in a high-quality environment that significantly boosts their future employment opportunities. More than 100 students have benefited from the program. 

In addition to his financial generosity to the University, Srinivasan devotes time and expertise as a member of the Purdue-India Executive Council, a high-level advisory board that provides counsel on Purdue’s strategic engagement with the country. Exploring educational and research opportunities, to the benefit of both India and Purdue, is a key goal.

For this alumnus, building a bridge between home and alma mater is at the heart of it all. For students yet to experience the opportunities granted by Purdue — made possible by newly created scholarships — a bright future awaits.

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