Web Exclusive/Web Special | Jan 9, 2010 | 16966 views

Mukesh Ambani awarded the Dean's Medal by University of Pennsylvania

Reliance plans to set up a world class university to promote education and research in all disciplines of knowledge ― from science and technology to liberal arts


ukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd., was awarded the Dean’s Medal from the University of Pennsylvania’s Eduardo Glandt, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The recognition was for his leadership in the application of engineering and technology. Awarded on Friday, January 8, 2010, at Trident hotel in Mumbai, the medal was presented to him for his initiative to usher in Reliance’s vertical integration journey from textiles into fibers, petrochemicals, petroleum refining and eventually oil and gas exploration and production. Today, Reliance is a global leader in polyester, petrochemicals and refining, including the world’s largest petroleum refinery complex at Jamnagar. Commenting on the inaugural medal, Dean Eduardo Glandt said, “Mukesh Ambani embodies what the engineering profession can contribute to a country, as someone who seeks to apply technology for the betterment of society.”

In his acceptance speech, Mukesh Ambani said, “I will treasure this medal. It is much more than the recognition of the modest contribution as a chemical engineer from India. It recognizes the collective achievement of the Reliance family and the creativity of over 25,000 engineers in Reliance. I dedicate this Medal to the indomitable spirit of our founder chairman, Dhirubhai Ambani and each and every member of the Reliance family.”

Mukesh Ambani with Eduardo Glandt, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science
Mukesh Ambani with Eduardo Glandt, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science

Following is an excerpted version of his acceptance speech:

Dean Eduardo Glandt, Ladies and Gentlemen, It is a privilege to receive this honour. I receive this with a deep sense of gratitude and  great humility. The University of Pennsylvania is one of the topmost universities in the World. 

An Ivy League institution that has produced 15 Nobel Prize winners. Where the Tree of Excellence has remained evergreen, generation after generation for the past 270 years. The School of Engineering and Applied Science is a jewel in the crown of this great university. My warm congratulations to Penn Engineering School for their continued leadership over the last two centuries.

Friends, As I stand here today, memories of another evening, 12 years ago, come back to my mind. When the Business School of the University of Pennsylvania honored my father Dhirubhai Ambani with the Dean’s Medal.

It was a touching gesture. It was a recognition of a person who became a legend in his lifetime. My father started Reliance Industries Ltd. From a scratch with a dream. The dream of making Reliance India’s number one corporation.

The dream of demonstrating that India was capable of building world-class production assets in critical industries.

Also, the dream of proving that the wealth so created can be owned and shared by hundreds of thousands of ordinary Indians. He turned his dream into reality in his own lifetime. He defied all handicaps. He faced many hurdles and hardships. But no hurdle could deter him, no hardship could discourage him. For he was the personification of the invincibility of human spirit. The same spirit continues to guide and inspire us at Reliance.

Dean Glandt, Thank you for conferring me with the Dean’s Medal. I will always treasure this Medal. For me, it is much more than recognition of the modest contribution as a chemical engineer from India. Rather, it recognizes the collective achievement of over one hundred thousand members of the Reliance Family. It recognizes the creativity of over 25,000 engineers in Reliance. Together, they have realized ― and are continuing to realize ― the dream of Dhirubhai Ambani with dedication, commitment and team spirit. I therefore dedicate this Medal to the indomitable spirit of Dhirubhai. And also to each and every member of the great Reliance Family.

We are meeting at the beginning of a new decade. I believe our world has entered a fundamentally new phase in human history. Financial crisis, energy crisis, food crisis, water crisis, environmental crisis, crisis caused by international terrorism: all these are global challenges.The decade gone by taught many important lessons to the world. 9/11 at the beginning of the last decade reminded the world about the barbarity of terrorism. 26/11 towards the end of the last decade was yet another reminder. And this very hotel, The Trident was both victim and witness- my deep appreciation for all staff of Oberoi for facing and overcoming terror with courage. Security in today’s globalised world is the common and collective responsibility of all the countries and all the communities.

Educational institutions can make a fundamental contribution to advancing the agenda of peace and security in the world. The financial crisis of 2008 was another threat to the wellbeing and sustainable development of the world.

It highlighted the interconnectedness of the world. What started in one country spread like a rapid wildfire to the entire world. The lesson that this crisis taught to both the Wall Streets and Main Streets in countries around the world was the same: Money cannot produce money.

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Comments (1)
Dr. Rahul Choudaha Jan 10, 2010
This is a very positive development. However, challenges and context of building world-class universities is very different from corporate projects of even much higher scale and scope. Ingredients of a world-class universities are way beyond financials and requires time and understanding of academic practices world over. Consider the case of Vedanta University, which is nearly two years behind the schedule, despite having all the financial and project management expertise of Vedanta Group. Interesting article available on (

Rahul Choudaha (PhD, MBA, BE)
New York
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