Frank and Debbie Islam Management Complex
Dedication Ceremony Remarks
Frank F Islam
Mr. Vice Chancellor, Distinguished Guests, Fellow Aligarians, Friends, ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you for that kind introduction and thank you for your hospitality and your warm welcome.
This is truly a special occasion for me. The opportunity for me to be here to participate in this dedication of the Frank and Debbie Islam Management Complex is one of the highlights of our lives.
That is so not because this Complex will bear our names but because the completion and dedication of this building represents a beginning and not an ending. The construction is done and now the constructing can begin. It is not the building of a building you should look at; it is the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.
Before I begin, I would like to take this opportunity to thank several individuals who have worked diligently with us to make this dream come true- so many that I cannot mention them all. But, I do want to give my deep gratitude to the Vice Chancellor. He planted the seed for the creation of this magnificent building. We would not be attending this ceremony without his vision, his support, and his constant encouragement. I also want to recognize and express my deep appreciation to Ameer Ahmad, Parvaiz Talib, Dr. Abdullah, Ali Rizvi, and Tauqeer Sherwani. Let us give them a big round of applause.
There is an old story about a man who comes upon three people working at a construction site. He asks the first worker, “What are you doing?” and the worker replies, “I am laying bricks.” He asks the second worker, “What are you doing?” and the worker replies, “I am building a wall.”
As he approaches the third worker, he hears the worker humming a tune as he works. The man asks that worker “What are you doing?” The worker stands, looks up at the sky, smiles and says, “I am building a mosque.”
This is not a mosque. It is a Management Complex.
But, it is that same holistic perspective that Debbie and I bring to this ceremony and that I believe that all of you do as well. This Management Complex is a place where dreams will begin and students will develop the requisite knowledge, skills and abilities to realize them. This Management Complex represents opportunity creator and bridge to the future.
Our overriding motivation in investing in the School of Management is because of the emphasis it will place on Entrepreneurship and preparing the students at AMU to become entrepreneurial leaders who will engage in economic development that will create jobs and opportunities for thousands of people in India and around the world. I hope my personal story inspire you to become entrepreneurial leader. There is nothing like the excitement, glory, fun, and sheer thrill of starting something from scratch and watching it grow into a large enterprise of astonishing proportions. I say to each one of you and to all students, if you have opportunity to be an entrepreneur – GRAB it. Find passionate and driven people who share your sense of purpose, share your vision, set the direction, give them all the necessary resources , give them the space to operate, and then work together with them to make things happen. There is an old saying which goes that leaders are born not made. Take it from me and from my journey, contrary to that old saying, the truth is that leaders and entrepreneurs are made and not born.
As I said when we were here in February of last year for the Foundation Stone Ceremony for this Complex, “While the bricks and mortar are important, far more significant is who will be in and what will go on in this setting. It will be a place for sharing of information and imparting and development of knowledge. It will be a space where faculty and students can collaborate on innovative project. It will be an “educational empowerment zone.”
My comments back then were focused on the future as was a prediction that I made. That prediction was “From this Management Complex will come the future leaders who will make India and the world a better place.”
Let me repeat that prediction, “From this Management Complex will come the future leaders who will make India and the world a better place.”
If you will notice, I used the word “leaders” rather than managers, or executives – or even business owners or entrepreneurs. That is because leaders play a special role in making society and the world a better place.
An American saying goes, managers do things right. Leaders do the right thing.
That should be true in all fields – government, religion, health care, education, and yes – even business. The problem is that we have too many people in leadership positions today that do not do the right thing.
I am certain that will not be the case for the AMU graduates who study in this Management Complex. I am confident that will be true because of AMU’s values, vision and proven performance.
From the founding of Aligarh, Sir Syed saw Aligarh Muslim University as a “mighty tree with branches”. He forecast that “this College may expand into a University, whose sons and daughters shall go forth throughout the length and breadth of the land to preach the gospel of free inquiry of large hearted toleration and pure morality.”
That is the vision and those are the values that have driven AMU since its establishment. Sir Syed’s promise has been delivered upon. There are currently more than 20,000 Aligarh alumni in 100 countries around the world.
While their career paths may be different, the one characteristic they share in common is a combination of technical expertise and moral fortitude. That has enabled the AMU graduates to make their mark in the world and to serve as positive role models for others.
AMU has a storied past. The students from this Management Complex will write the AMU stories of the future.
In various locations in this Management Complex, there are quote from me. They provide some of my thoughts on what is important for success in business and in life.
One of those quotes is, “There are no limits. If you can conceive it, and believe it, you can achieve it.” I firmly believe that. Peter Drucker, the renowned business expert, said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
I agree with Drucker. As I said in my opening remarks, the construction is done – now the constructing can begin.
That constructing will be done by those future leaders who will come from this Management Complex. This Management Complex is one of the branches of the “mighty tree” that Sir Syed envisioned. 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, that is why I am so confident in my prediction that they will be in the forefront of making India and the world a better place.
Thank you for joining us today for this dedication of the Management Complex and celebration of this beginning and occasion that is so special to us. I am most appreciative.
God bless you all. God bless this complex and all who will enter here.