The gifts keep on rolling in.
The University’s College of Pharmacy received a $1 million donation from Dr. Dinesh Patel and his wife Kalpana Patel on Jan. 13. The gift will be added to the Chhotubhai and Savitaben Patel Fellowships, which were created by the Patel family in 2005 to fund scholarships for graduate students in the College of Pharmacy.
The donation comes as part of the University’s Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign, which aims to raise $4 billion overall. The University’s previous campaign, The Michigan Difference, concluded in 2008 with $3.2 billion raised — surpassing its original goal of $2.5 billion.
The Pharmacy School hopes to raise $20 million during the campaign. Patel is the chairman of the school’s board dedicated to fundraising development.
“It’s a small college, and so the $20 million is quite significant, and I think we have enough people helping us that we should be able to meet our target,” Patel said. “I am pleased to be a part of the college and do whatever we can.”
Patel said he hopes to maintain a cycle of donations through graduate students receiving his scholarships.
“We’re just hoping that the most deserving students will get it and that, at some point, once they are successful, they will pay back to the college,” he said.
Patel was born and raised in Africa and completed his undergraduate degree in India. He then finished his studies at the University’s Pharmacy School, where he received his doctorate in 1979. He currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah, and works as a venture capitalist with his company, vSpring Capital.
Patel said he has fond memories of his time spent in Ann Arbor and appreciated the wealth of activities available to him along with the unique educational experience that the University offered.
“Without going to Michigan I would not have been able to get where I am, so I feel it’s important to help other students to get their education,” he said.
Peter Niedbala, the college’s director of pharmacy advancement and external relations, said Patel’s contributions were to the school have been incredibly generous.
“He is really contributing not only resources but also time as chairman of our campaign efforts, and it’s very humbling that he has made this time commitment to the college,” Niedbala said. “He is helping focus our volunteer board on identifying prospects and helping create enthusiasm for helping the college achieve its goal.”
In addition, Patel has been recognized in the past with the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009 and the Willem J. Kolff Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.
Pharmacy student Ronak Shah said the Patel Fellowships are currently funding his tuition and other college expenses.
“This will help the University to go ahead in the future and truly becoming one of the leaders in the field of research and academia,” Shah said.
BioUtah president and CEO Kimball Thomson, who knows Patel through his membership on BioUtah’s board of directors, praised his contributions to the community.
“…He is a giver and a genuine great man,” Thomson said. “He gives so much of himself to others and to the community. He really is one of the modern fathers of biotechnology here in the Western states.”