Wipro Chairman Azim Premji and founder of the Azim Premji Foundation has been conferred doctor of humane letters by Wesleyan University, Connecticut, United States.
The honorary degree was conferred on Premji in recognition of his achievements as a 'renowned entrepreneur, global business leader and extraordinary humanitarian who has demonstrated a commitment to education and the well being of fellow citizens,' Wipro said in a release issued in Bangalore on Monday.
Premji is the second Indian recipient of this award. Nobel Prize winner Amartya Kumar Sen was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1995.
Michael S Roth, President, Wesleyan University said, 'Through Azim Premji Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing quality primary education for every child in order to build a just, equitable and humane society, Premji exemplifies the values that Wesleyan holds dear.'
The honorary degree was conferred on Premji at the 177th commencement ceremony of the university held recently.
Accepting the honour, Premji said, 'When a committed, genuine and respected university like Wesleyan from the world of education has chosen to bestow an honour like this on me, it is indeed very, very special.'
Premji said through the years of growth of Wipro, he had the privilege of interacting with thousands of ordinary people who did extraordinary things and overcame insurmountable odds. 'The more I got to know these people, who came from every walk of life, every kind of economic and social back ground imaginable, I grew deeply convinced about the singular power of education especially in the developing world, where not all have equal access to a quality education.'
He said education indeed has the unique power to enable not only personal success but also to drive social transformation, and therefore the power to create a more equitable, humane and sustainable society.
'Convinced as I am about the critical importance of education, it was only natural that I direct all my personal philanthropy towards this end. Our efforts in trying to catalyse systemic Education reform in India, now reaches out to over 3.3 million children across more than 25,000 schools. I am acutely conscious that these numbers are still small drops in a very large ocean. We have a long way to go," he added.
Photograph courtesy: Wesleyan University