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International alumni award-winner named

Jeff Unger, News Bureau


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Ashok Ganguly, a scientist, corporate leader and public servant, will receive the Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement for the 2003-2004 academic year from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chancellor Nancy Cantor said today.

“We are delighted to make this award in a year in which we are sponsoring events that focus on issues of global importance,” Cantor said. “Dr. Ganguly is a distinguished graduate of the University of Illinois, and his accomplishments exemplify the global leadership this award is designed to recognize.”

A.J. Siedler, professor emeritus in the department of food science and human nutrition, called Ganguly “a giant in the industrial and scientific sector of India, as well as a major player in the international food and allied industries system.”

Ganguly earned a master of science degree in 1959 and a doctorate in 1961, both at Illinois. He is the chairman of the board of ICICI One Source Limited in Mumbai, India. He retired as chief technical officer of Unilever, a global food company.

Shortly after receiving his degrees from Illinois, Ganguly joined Unilever’s research center, then in its formative stages, and ultimately became head of Unilever Research worldwide, directing more than 3,500 scientists and engineers in India, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States.

He was a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee to former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi that undertook a number of initiatives that included helping India develop the capacity to build

Ganguly also has been chairman of the board of governors of the Indian Institute of Technology, a founding director of the Indian Technology Board, a director of the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and serves on the board of British Airways.

In 1986, he was named India’s Businessman of the Year, and in 1987 was given one of the highest civilian awards, Padma Bhushan, by the president of India.

Ganguly is the third recipient of the Madhuri and Jagdish International Alumni Award, which recognizes distinction in one’s profession or life’s work in an international context and significant contributions to humanity, science, art or human welfare that have helped others. The award will be presented at a banquet on campus early next year.