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November 29, 1999
1999 Excelsior Awards Announced
J M Shenoy
Preeti Bansal, solicitor general for the state of New York; Rakesh Gangwal president and CEO of US Airways; Desh Deshpande, founder and chairman of Sycamore Networks, Inc and John Kuriyan, a professor at Rockefeller University, are the recipients of the 1999 Excelsior Awards.
The Excelsior Awards were established to honor south Asians and Indian-Americans in the United States who are at the forefront of fields such as academia, banking and finance, healthcare, media, publishing, literature, government, and information technology and serve as role models to the entire community.
The New York chapters of The Network of Indian Professionals and the Association of Indians in America are organizing the event, sponsored by Chaitime.com and the New York Life Insurance Company.
The event will take place at December 4 from 6.30 pm to 9 pm at The Asia Society.
The next day NetIP and AIA have organized a Power Brunch, between 9 am and 12 pm at New York Hotel, with the recipients of the awards. Guests will be able to meet the awardees in an interactive session and ask questions.
Bansal graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1989, where she was supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review and magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Harvard-Radcliffe College in 1986.
Bansal previously served in the Clinton administration as a special counsel in the Office of the White House Counsel and counselor to the assistant attorney-general in charge of the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice. She also served as a United States Supreme Court law clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens from 1990-1991.
Immediately prior to her appointment as solicitor-general, Bansal was an attorney with the New York City firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher where she specialized in media and First Amendment issues as well as intellectual property and constitutional litigation.
Deshpande's firm, Sycamore Networks, Inc, went public a month ago, making him a billionaire overnight.
He also founded Cascade Communications, a company that grew from a two-person startup in 1990 to a company with $ 500 million in revenue and nine hundred employees within a few years. Cascade was acquired by Ascend Communications for $ 3.7 billion in June 1997 and was named one of the 'Top 25 Very Cool Companies' (Forbes Magazine, 1996).
Prior to Cascade, Deshpande, who has a master's degree from IIT Madras and a Ph D from a Canadian university, co-founded Coral Network Corporation in 1988. Deshpande has garnered many top industry honors, including being named one of the 'Visionaries of the Industry' (Communications Week, 1996), one of the 'Top 25 Technology Drivers' (Network Computing, 1996) and 'Entrepreneur of the Year' (1995).
Gangwal, a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, has a master's in business administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining US Airways as president and chief operating officer in February 1996, he was executive vice-president of planning and development at Air France and a senior officer at United Airlines.
While at United, Gangwal was credited with developing new transcontinental routes and with creating the United Shuttle. At US Airways, he is credited with pulling the airline back from the brink of bankruptcy and increasing revenue fourfold.
Kuriyan, the Patrick E and Beatrice M Haggerty professor at Rockefeller University, received a BS degree in chemistry from Juniata College, Pennsylvania, and a Ph D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There he worked with Gregory Petsko and Martin Karplus on the dynamics of proteins.
He continued with Karplus at Harvard University for a year and then moved to Rockefeller University as a university fellow. His current research focuses on the structural biology of DNA replication and cellular signal transduction.
His numerous awards include the Cornelius Rhoads Memorial Award from the American Association for Cancer Research (1999), the Eli Lilly Award of the American Chemical Society (1998), the Dupont-Merck Award of the Protein Society (1997), and the Schering-Plough Award of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (1994). He is a member of the biophysical chemistry section of the National Institute of Health.
Admission for the awards night: $ 40 for NetIP/ AIA Members, $ 50 for non-members. Cocktails and heavy hors d'oeuvres will be served. Business attire requested. The event will be held at the Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue @ 70th St, NYC.
Admission for power breakfast will cost NetIP members $ 20, and non-members $ 25. It will be held at the New York Hotel, 541 Lexington Avenue at 49th Street (between 3rd and Lexington.
For more information, contact Henna Shah at (201)224-2336.
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