Harvard University announced today that Siddhartha Yog, M.B.A. ’04, founder and managing partner of The Xander Group Inc., an India-focused, emerging-markets investment firm, has given the University $11,000,001 to establish two new professorships, fellowships and financial aid, and an intellectual entrepreneurship fund.
The gift is inspired by and honors the teaching and mentorship of Professor Arthur I. Segel at Harvard Business School (HBS). It spans multiple Harvard Schools and focuses on innovative science, educational access, public service, and academic–public policy collaborations.
The Xander University Professorship recognizes an eminent scholar in emerging areas of scientific inquiry, particularly those at the intersection of existing scientific disciplines. University Professorships are a singular honor reserved for faculty members who are both extraordinarily accomplished in their fields and respected leaders in the University community. Noted Harvard stem cell scientist Douglas A. Melton was named to the position in September.
The Xander Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (GSE) recognizes an educator whose work promotes equity, access, and readiness for college, especially for economically disadvantaged and urban students, as well as for students in vocational education programs. Dean Kathleen McCartney has announced that Bridget Terry Long, an economist whose research focuses on issues of access and choice in higher education and the outcomes of college students, will be the inaugural Xander Professor of Education.
The Xander Financial Aid and Fellowship Fund at Harvard Law School (HLS) will provide financial aid for deserving international students and students enrolled in the J.D. program who pursue public interest and public service work. The fund also will provide fellowships for one year of postgraduate public service. The Xander Fund for Intellectual Entrepreneurship at HBS will support novel projects and collaborations engaging both the academic and public policy sectors.
“Harvard’s legacy of teaching and learning has long emphasized intellectual exploration and public service,” said Harvard President Drew Faust, who is also Lincoln Professor of History. “We are grateful to Sid Yog for this generous gift, which will help us to extend that legacy with the support it spreads across three of our Schools and its recognition of emerging areas of scientific research.”
Faust also highlighted the important role of University Professors. “The University Professorships were established almost 80 years ago as a special way to recognize individuals of distinction who are working on the frontiers of knowledge in ways that cross the traditional boundaries of academic disciplines.”
She added, “While the world knows Doug Melton as a scientist who has played a seminal role in the exponential growth of the new field of stem cell science, we at Harvard also know him as an untiring mentor to scientific leaders of tomorrow, and as an academic who is passionate about improving undergraduate education.”
Explaining his gift, Yog said, “Despite the advances we have made as a race, global events are forcing us to confront our most fundamental vulnerabilities — disease, social injustice, and economic disparity — in ways we have never needed to before. Harvard University’s multidisciplinary and collaborative ecosystem uniquely positions it to find innovative and far-reaching solutions to what I consider are the greatest challenges of our times. I am certain that the beneficiaries of this gift will be remarkable individuals who will bring positive and sustainable change to our world.”
McCartney said, “All of us at the Harvard Graduate School of Education are grateful to Sid Yog for endowing this chair and, in so doing, assuring that equity, access, and college readiness remain a focus of our work in perpetuity. Through the work of faculty in this chair, we will improve student opportunity, achievement, and success. I am thrilled to appoint Bridget Terry Long as the inaugural Xander Professor of Education. The policy implications of Professor Long’s research on access to higher education for low-income students is great, which is why she has been asked to testify before Congress and was recently named chair of the National Board for Education Sciences.”
HLS Dean Martha Minow said, “We at the Law School are deeply grateful for Sid Yog’s wonderfully generous Xander Financial Aid and Fellowship Fund. This gift will make a critical difference to our students from around the world who wish to pursue public service, especially during this challenging time. That the gift comes from a person whose own career inspires our increasingly entrepreneurial students is especially significant as we seek to support those who are committed to developing innovative ways to serve the public interest. How truly delightful to share Mr. Yog’s vision and splendid support for our students pursuing initial and advanced law degrees.”
HBS Dean Nitin Nohria said, “We are grateful for Mr. Yog’s generous gift, which will help support our students’ interest in the intersection of business and government, as well as to enhance their study and practice of entrepreneurship, which creates value for society through the pursuit of opportunity and the development of innovative solutions to some of the world’s most difficult challenges.”
Yog has been involved in global real estate and infrastructure since 1993. From 1999 to 2002, he was based in Singapore and Hong Kong as founding director of CB Richard Ellis’s (CBRE) Asia/Pacific strategic consulting practice. From 1994 to 1998, he helped set up CBRE’s India operations and led the consulting, valuation, and research groups. He has also worked at Bain & Co. in New York, Deutsche Bank Real Estate Investment Management GmbH in Frankfurt, and Feedback Ventures in New Delhi.
As managing partner of The Xander Group Inc., an investment firm that he co-founded in 2005, Yog has been responsible for overseeing $1.2 billion of investments in India, concentrated primarily on companies and assets in the real estate, retail and entertainment, infrastructure, and hospitality sectors.
Yog received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School with highest distinction and was elected a Baker Scholar. He was also elected president of his class and served on the board of directors of HBS’s alumni association. Earlier, he earned an honors degree in economics from the University of Delhi, where he was elected head of the students’ union of his college.
He serves on numerous boards and foundations, and is a founding member of the International Advisory Board of the Real Estate Academic Initiative at Harvard University. He splits his time among Boston, London, and New Delhi.
Yog discussed his hopes for the various aspects of the gift. “By spearheading pioneering research in emerging areas of scientific enquiry, the University chair in innovative sciences will have a global impact. It is an honor to be able to create a chair whose first appointee is Doug Melton. His path-breaking work in embryonic stem cell research has probably already changed the future course of the lives of millions of people, especially those suffering from Parkinson’s disease or type 1 diabetes.
“The Harvard Graduate School of Education is playing a critical role in addressing the urgent need for evolved and appropriate systems of education, by enabling teachers and trainers to lead the charge in their respective communities,” continued Yog. “I am confident that Bridget Terry Long will help promote more equitable and inclusive systems of education globally.”
Yog said that the Xander Financial Aid and Fellowship Fund at HLS “will hopefully enable individuals from the developing world to become votaries and implementers of a strong and just legal system in their respective countries, a foundational aspect of any developed society.”
He added that HBS’s Xander Fund for Intellectual Entrepreneurship “will assist in pushing the boundaries of intellectual inquiry to resolve the range of problems our world faces today by rethinking the ways in which business engages with other stakeholders in society.”
Yog concluded with an explanation of the significance of the “$1” in his $11,000,001 gift amount. In Indian tradition, it is considered lucky to add a token of one to any monetary gift. It is believed that adding that 1 to, say, an amount of 1,000 or 10,000 will start off the next series of thousands or tens of thousands for the recipient.
“This is just my way of wishing good luck to all those who will be associated with this gift in times to come, and expressing my hope that they will add exponential value to the gift itself.”