Education looks different during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is delivered through different mediums in different ways.
The importance of education, however, will never change, contends Ganpat Patel.
The Cal Poly Pomona alumnus, businessman and philanthropist is about as deeply invested in education as one can be. As such, he is on the front lines of the battle to uphold educational continuity during these challenging times.
“There is no substitute for education,” Patel (’69, electrical engineering and instrumentation) said. “We must rise to the challenge and find innovative ways to meet this need.”
A native of India, Patel landed at Cal Poly Pomona in the late 1960s to study electrical engineering and instrumentation, a new discipline at the time. His education laid the foundation for a successful career founding a power supply company, among other business ventures, that enabled his family to support a university and other educational programs in India.
Ganpat University in India instructs more than 18,000 students in fields that include technology and emerging education. Patel, who is university’s Patron-in-Chief and President, received one of India’s most prestigious civilian honor in 2019, the Padma Shri award for his contributions in literature and education.
In recognition of Patel’s tremendous accomplishments in the educational realm and his success in business and engineering ventures, Cal Poly Pomona will award him an honorary Doctor of Science degree.
Patel has remained involved at Cal Poly Pomona on many levels, including as a founding member of the Cal Poly Pomona Philanthropic Foundation Board of Directors. His generous philanthropic activities include an endowment for a lecture series in the College of Engineering, as well as supporting the project labs for the Baja SAE and Formula SAE teams.
Patel urges students, faculty and staff to stay connected during the pandemic, no matter the format. The power of connection is at the root of education, he said.
“Learning from people — our colleagues, friends and mentors — is just as important as what we learn from our textbooks. This social connection makes us human and will bring you great success in your careers,” he said.
“Education was present before this pandemic, it is present during the pandemic and it will be present after this pandemic subsides,” Patel added. “It is the window to wisdom, success, diversity and tolerance.”