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Bollinger Installed as Raj & Kamla Gupta Professor of Infectious Diseases
Friends, colleagues, and university leadership gathered on September 5 to witness the dedication of the Raj and Kamla Gupta Professorship in Infectious Diseases and the installation of CCGHE Director Robert C. Bollinger, MD, MPH, as the inaugural recipient.
The dedication celebrated Raj and Kamla Gupta's enduring commitment to Johns Hopkins researchers working to improve infectious disease outcomes among underserved patients around the world. The Guptas immigrated to the U.S. from India in 1968 so that Raj could attend Cornell University. Mr. Gupta rose through the ranks of Rohm and Haas to serve as Chairman and CEO. He has served on the boards of Hewlett Packard and Vanguard, and is a past Chairman of the American Chemistry Council, and the Society of Chemical Industry, America Section. Currently he is a member of the boards of Arconic Inc., IRI, and is Chairman of Avantor Inc., and APTIVE PLC (formerly Delphi Automotive PLC), and Senior Advisor to DuPont.
Before a standing-room only audience at the William H. Welch Medical Library, Dr. Mark Anderson, Director of the Department of Medicine, opened with introductory remarks and welcomed University leadership, the Gupta and Bollinger families, and distinguished guests. The professorship was then presented to Johns Hopkins University President Ronald Daniels by Dr. Paul Rothman, Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who spoke about the tradition of endowed professorships at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where such a position is recognized as the highest honor.
President Daniels reflected on the Gupta’s remarkable journey from immigrants to philanthropists, and their commitment to making the world a better place. “Raj has embodied and enacted the deep sense of fairness and cooperation that have animated him throughout his career, and made vital contributions to our shared goal of nurturing a healthier, more peaceful global community.”
Dr. Prabodh Gupta, Emeritus Professor CE of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, introduced the Guptas and chronicled their life together—from their arranged marriage in India, to their immigration to the U.S. in 1968 with only $8, to Raj’s 40 year rise through the ranks of the Rohm and Haas Chemical Company. Dr. Gupta lauded Raj Gupta’s career, which includes serving on the boards of many Fortune 500 companies (Hewlett Packard, Tyco, Vanguard), his latest position as a Senior Advisor to DuPont, many awards and distinctions, and the Gupta’s international family life, made possible through Kamla’s steadfast partnership. Dr. Gupta praised the Guptas and the family’s Ujala Foundation for their generous philanthropic support of health, educational, cultural, and social organizations.
In his response, Raj Gupta reflected on his own experience living the American Dream, and his and Kamla’s personal mission to pay their good fortune forward. “Bob Bollinger’s work has made a positive impact on the lives of so many around the world,” he said. “The Gupta family and the Ujala Foundation are pleased to play a small part in recognizing the many contributions of Dr. Bollinger, and in supporting future research that improves outcomes among patients who suffer from infectious diseases.”
Dr. Amita Gupta, daughter of Raj and Kamla, then introduced her mentor, Dr. Bollinger: “Bob is a man of many great ideas and importantly finds unique and innovative ways to execute them—he is an entrepreneur of clinical research and education going from bench to bedside, and from classroom to community . . . Bob and my parents have in common an extraordinary ability to envision changes and actualize them, and a desire to sustain progress by conferring knowledge, skills, and credit for ideas that work.”
Following the presentation of the professorship medallion by Dean Rothman, Dr. Bollinger expressed his gratitude to family, friends, and colleagues for their support through his career. Addressing Raj and Kamla Gupta, Bollinger indicated that the impact of their generosity rippled far beyond Johns Hopkins.
“Here in this beautiful venue, the people in India who have benefited most from your support may seem worlds away. However, I have seen the faces of many mothers and fathers in Pune cured of TB. I have seen and held babies who were born healthy without HIV infection, due to access to treatment for their mothers. I have seen the impact first hand of what your partnership has meant to so many in India. Many of us in this room have seen the impact of your partnership first hand and I can tell you that, while they may seem far removed from today’s event, our neighbors in India are right here.”
Learn more about Dr. Robert C. Bollinger