Frank and Debbie Islam Management Complex
Foundation Stone Ceremony Remarks
Frank F Islam
Mr. Vice Chancellor, Distinguished Guests, Fellow Aligarians, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is truly an honor and a special moment for my wife Debbie and my family and me to be here at this Foundation Stone Ceremony for the Frank and Debbie Islam Management Complex. We are delighted to join all of you for this ceremony. What better way to lay a foundation for the future than by laying the foundation stone of a management school – a school that will develop the best minds who will enable and empower future generations to take charge of their own destinies.
Several individuals have worked diligently with us to make this dream come true – so many that I can not mention them all. But, I do want to give special recognition to the Vice Chancellor, Parvaiz Talib, Javaid Akhter, S.M. Jawed Akhtar, Ameer Ahmad, and Nadeem Tarin. I also want to recognize and express my deep gratitude to Dr. Abdullah, Ali Rizvi and Tauqeer Sherwani. Let us give them big round of applause.
Before I begin I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Vice Chancellor for his hope for the future of Aligarh and his faith in potential and promise of Aligarh and his vision of the kind of Aligarh we can build together. He inspires all of us to do well but also to do good. He continues to be constant source of strength for all of us. He provides the example, sets the standard, and provides broad shoulder upon which we can stand. We would not be attending this ceremony without his vision, his support, and his constant encouragement. I also would like to convey my sincere THANK YOU to Ameer Ahmad for providing seed money for this complex.
As we stand here for this ceremony, I am reminded of the words of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan at the laying of the foundation stone for MAO College. He predicted, “The small plant will one day turn into a mighty tree whose branches will spread all over the world.” His prediction came true.
As we lay this foundation stone today, I would like to make a prediction as well. That prediction is: From this Management Complex will come the future leaders who will make India and the world a better place.” I am confident that my prediction will also come true.
My confidence stems from the fact that the building itself is designed and will be constructed with a sensitivity to both the heritage character of AMU and in accordance with the best practices of modern architecture for higher education facilities. It will contain three blocks: the academic area; an administrative and faculty area; and a facilities area that will include activity rooms, a library and an open air theatre. The Complex’s courtyard form will maximize interaction – both formal and informal – between and among faculty and students.
While the bricks and mortar are important, far more significant, however, – in terms of my confidence in my prediction – is who will be in it — and what will go on in this setting? This will be a home for Aligarh business faculty and students.
It will be a place for the sharing of information and the imparting and development of knowledge. It will be a space where faculty and students can collaborate on innovative projects. It will be an educational empowerment zone.
We all know that in the 21st century, information technology is front and center. There is the lap top. There is the desk top. But the most important tool remains the shoulder top. It is what goes on in the space between the two ears that matters for the future of Aligarh students, India and the world.
Debbie and I recognize and understand this. That is why we made instituting an Endowed Chair in our name part of our conditions for providing funding support for the Management Complex.
The person in that Chair will provide the essential intellectual and emotional capital to match the building’s bricks and mortar. We expect that person to be a thought leader and a mentor to those management and business students who will graduate from Aligarh.
This brings me to why we decided to support the development of this Complex. It was not to get naming rights – although that recognition is nice.
Our overriding motivation in supporting the Management Complex is because of the emphasis it will place on preparing the students at AMU to become entrepreneurial leaders who will engage in economic development activities that will create jobs and opportunities for thousands of people throughout India and in other parts the world.
We look at the funding of this Complex and the Chair not only as philanthropy but as an investment in the future of India. We expect the return on that investment to be exponential.
I would not be the person I am if it were not for AMU education. My giving back to this institution is a way of beginning to repay the University for what it helped me to become. AMU has always been and continues to be a beacon of hope, aspirations and dream. Aligarh students have always been our best hope. They are dreamers and doers. My investment is my way of saying thank you and keeping the hope alive.
We hope our investment will stimulate other alumni and future business school graduates to contribute to support actions in the management area such as: scholarships, targeted research, publications, faculty development, and other initiatives that will strengthen Aligarh’s already strong management program.
In closing, Sir Syed foresaw Aligarh Muslim University as a “mighty tree with branches.” This Management Complex will be one of those branches – a stronger and a better branch than it was before.
From it will come the students – the seeds from the Aligarh family tree. They will go across India and around the world. In the process, they will plant new trees and help make this nation and the world a better place.
My fondest hope and expectation is that this school will inspire its students to explore horizons beyond their own and to develop the bonds of mutuality that cut across differences of culture, religion or background and belief.
Thank you for your attentiveness and being here with us this afternoon on this occasion. Debbie and I appreciate it.
We wish you every success with the new management complex.
God bless you all.