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Dean Andrew Ainslie, Faculty and Students of the Simon Business School, Ladies and Gentlemen

It is with immense pleasure that I stand here with you all today. At this great moment of establishing the Rajesh Wadhawan Professorship in honor of our Group Founder and our father, myriads of emotions cross my mind. My mother Aruna Wadhawan and my brother Dheeraj join me here to share this nostalgia.

Three decades ago, Rajesh Wadhawan founded a company to enable equitable economic empowerment through affordable access to credit. This was long before “social inclusion” started trending in boardrooms.

It is said, “Every son quotes his father in words and in deeds.”

Even though he is not among us anymore, my father’s words continue to guide us; his vision continues to inspire us; and his wisdom continues to motivate us. I am confident that he must be pleased that our group has been unreservedly pursuing the vision of social equality he advocated during his lifetime. The Rajesh Wadhawan Professorship is a tribute to his vision of enabling equitable access for all.

His legacy of ‘doing business with a purpose’ lives on across our group business actions today. In the present day, most corporates are tweaking their business models to serve society, albeit as an afterthought. Pursuing profits without purpose is meaningless and Rajesh Wadhawan proclaimed this three decades ago. Some of the world’s most successful business leaders like ¬Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Ratan Tata, Azim Premji including new generation leaders like Mark Zuckerburg, who have made bold moves to create societal value, embody this spirit. Andrew Carnegie, pioneering philanthropist set the standard for giving back when he said, "No man can become rich without himself enriching others."

On this momentous occasion, with the highest respect to the legacy of this great university, I thank Simon Business School for establishing The Rajesh Wadhawan Professorship. As we mark a new beginning at one of the world’s most prestigious and well-recognized business schools, it is our endeavor to open opportunities for research towards the future of the world’s economic development.

We look forward to learning from academia while sharing our business experiences. The exchange programs and internships at WGC group companies in India and holding of joint forums to further propagate the field and allied areas through this professorship will further the cause of development economics. Indeed, talented people from the next generation can transform developing economies from poverty to prosperity.

One of the most striking characteristics of the global economy in recent times has been the growing inequality in the distribution of resources in different parts of the world. To me, development economics is one of the most important areas of research in the social sciences that can address the underlying challenges of poverty and inequality.

I believe that India’s 1.25 billion citizens can prosper if we can transform the way the country’s economy creates value. India Inc. and the Indian Diaspora have a critical role to play in this story not only by creating value by addressing key societal needs, but also in supporting the vibrant start-up ecosystem.

Our Founder believed equality in society is fundamentally linked to equitable access to education, which is both a fundamental right and a critical lever to reach larger development objectives. Access to a quality education rooted in gender equality and equal empowerment can create a multiplier effect of opportunity shaping generations to come.

In today’s knowledge economy, education is one of the most critical investments we can make. This is true not only for students, the academia and businesses but for countries across the world. I urge the next generation of business leaders present here to redouble their efforts to improve access to quality education worldwide.

Today's unveiling of this plaque will go a long way towards recognizing our Founder’s legacy. On behalf of our Group, I would like to thank Dean Andrew Ainslie and his team for giving this whole process the kind of time and effort they have, and the University of Rochester for its goodwill in instating this professorship. I would also like to thank everyone else who has participated in this momentous process. This is the start of a new journey for all of us and I recognize and hope that it will be one of the pivotal foundations towards making the world a more equitable place.

Thank you very much.

Kapil Wadhawan
Wadhawan Global Capital

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