Alumnus creates new scholarship

Sep 7, 2018

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom

Alumnus Mukund Padmanabhan, an accomplished electrical engineer who now works in finance, has made a gift of $500,000 through his foundation to create a new scholarship at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering.

The gift establishes the Guru Krupa Foundation Centennial Scholars Undergraduate Scholarship. The foundation’s gift has been matched with $250,000 from the UCLA Centennial Scholars Match initiative for a total $750,000 endowment.

Padmanabhan earned a master’s degree in 1989 and Ph.D. in 1992 from UCLA, both in electrical engineering. After completing his Ph.D., he joined the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, where he specialized in the area of speech processing, including managing the research and development of algorithms for speech recognition. Today he does research in statistical financial modeling for Renaissance Technologies, a New York-based hedge fund. He is a long-time donor to the school, and the new endowed scholarship fund is his fifth major gift.

“I am very gratified to see the benefits accruing to graduate students and faculty from my earlier gifts and would like to extend my support to the deserving Samueli undergraduates as well – it is my hope this scholarship fund will provide additional support for them during their studies at UCLA,” he said. “This is a place where bright and promising students, no matter their background or family situation, can make a big move up the economic ladder. And it’s for this reason that I’m very proud to continue to support the school through this new scholarship fund.”

Padmanabhan, founder of the Guru Krupa Foundation, noted that he was a beneficiary of graduate fellowships and assistantships that made his education at UCLA possible.

He has endowed three graduate fellowships in electrical and computer engineering, which have supported 18 graduate students so far. His gift of $2.5 million toward the construction of the Engineering VI building helped create a research laboratory for integrated microsystems.

The Guru Krupa Foundation is a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the lives of impoverished families, provide opportunities in higher education to those who could not otherwise afford it and supports cultural and religious organizations in the United States and India.

“We’re very grateful for the continued generous support of Mukund Padmanabhan and the Guru Krupa Foundation,” said Jayathi Murthy, the Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean of Engineering at UCLA. “This new scholarship will help promising engineering students fulfill their educational objectives and make a positive impact on society.”

The gift is part of the UCLA Centennial Campaign, which is scheduled to conclude in December 2019, during UCLA’s 100th anniversary year.


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