The Aligarh Alumni Association of New York recently presented noted Indian American philanthropist and entrepreneur Frank F. Islam with the “Sir Ross Masood Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Leadership, Education, Community and Public Service” in recognition of his distinguished leadership, community and public service and philanthropy.
Islam was bestowed the honor during the seventeenth annual Sir Syed Day celebration dinner on November 15 in Garden City, N.Y.
Islam recently provided $2 million for the establishment of a management school at the Aligarh Muslim University in India, of which he is an alumnus.
The school will be named “Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Department of Management and Faculty of Management Studies and Research” after Islam and his wife.
The school will be focused on innovation, entrepreneurship and ethical business leadership. The project will also include the “establishment of an endowed chair for entrepreneurship, innovation, corporate responsibility and business,” according to the university.
“Now, more than ever, it is imperative that students receive an education that prepares them to be servant-leaders — leaders who understand that working with others to solve problems and that what one gives back is more important that what one accomplishes individually,” Islam said during his acceptance speech.
He also explicitly underscored the importance of increasing involvement in civic engagement.
“When Neil Armstrong stepped out of the lunar lander on the moon, he said, ‘That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.’ I would daresay that none of us here today have been on the moon and don’t expect that any of us will be visiting there any time soon,” Islam stated.
“So, if we are to help in making giant leaps forward, our work will have to be done here on earth. Those leaps can be made through civic engagement,” he continued. “But, truth be told, those giant leaps may not come in one single bound but through a series of small steps.”