38 SAN DIEGO STUDENTS NAMED MAHATMA GANDHI SCHOLARS
Thirty eight high school graduates and community college students irrespective of national origin were recognized with scholarships exceeding $100,000 and US Congressional Certificates at the 35th Annual Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Lecture and awards ceremony attended by around 250 guests held on July 28 at the University of California, San Diego. San Diego Indian American Society Founder Professor M.C. “Madhu” Madhavan in his welcome address said`` This is one of the very long standing events in the US that memorializes Gandhiji’s contribution to humankind. The inaugural lecture was delivered by Dr. Jonas Salk. On that day we recognized 10 outstanding high school graduates and gave about $6,000 in scholarships. Today, we will recognize 38 students and give over $100,000 in scholarships irrespective of national origin. For a small immigrant community, it is a good effort but there is more to do. To date, we have recognized 650 high school graduates over the years irrespective of national origin. Mahatma Gandhi scholarships awarded thus far amounted to over $700,000. We need your continuous support to maintain this year’s level of support and to increase the trust fund from $750,000 to at least one million.’’ Madhavan revealed that over 15 community members participated in selecting the 38 scholars this year from three different streams. Over 95% of the scholarship amount will go to students of non-India origin and three-fourths will go to students from families with no college education. These outstanding and accomplished students are from 20 different high schools in San Diego County and four community colleges.
Madhavan thanked 35 families for this year’s support, particularly Ray Patel, Gayatri Prahalad, P.K.Patel, Hema Lall and Sabodh Garg, Maneck Wadia and their spouses.He thanked Congressman Scott Peters for providing the US Congressional certificates to the students. The 38 recipients included Indian-American students Karishma Shah, Ashna Sood and Tavisha Thapar. These students are from 18 different high schools and four different community colleges. They will be attending Yale, U.C. Berkley, UCLA, UCSD, UCSB, UC Davis, San Diego State University and San Diego area community colleges this fall.
35th Annual Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Lecture was delivered by globally recognized physicist and Executive Vice Chancellor of UCSD, Dr. Elizabeth Simmons. She exhorted the students to try to identify overarching principles as Gandhiji did in such an inspiring way saying power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.
She said, ``As a university student, seek equilibrium but avoid pathological kinds. Do not isolate yourself within a narrow band of ideas, interests, people and spaces. Also do not seek to impose the views you arrived at college with on others. Remember what Gandhiji said: nobody in this world possesses absolute truth. If you let others’ perspective in, yours will likely change for the better. One best way you can contribute to global peace is by lowering your defenses and listening to others, actively inviting others into the conversation, especially those whose voices are less listened to and making space for their concerns to be heard and addressed. In doing so, you will be promoting peace that Gandhiji lived and preached, which is the justice lived and done by unarmed nations.” Simmons concluded saying, “you will be honoring Mahatma Gandhi, in whose name you are being honored today”.
Ashna Sood of Del Norte High School Dan Grushkevich of La Jolla High School read their very inspiring essays on non-violence.
DR. Ramesh Rao, chair of the Mahatma Gandhi Scholarship Committee, Hema Lall, co-chair of Gandhi Avid Scholarship Committee and Dr. Madhavan, Chair, Community College Scholarship Committee presented the honorees with the awards.
A special dinner in honor of Dr. Simmons was held at the home of Shital and Manish Parikh, treasurer of San Diego Indian American Society. Dinner attendees included San Diego Union Tribune Publisher and Editor, Jeff Light and his wife, Teri, Dr. Shekar Chivukula, distinguished physicist and husband of Dr. Simmons, sponsors and community leaders.