Ratan Tata to speak on cars and corporate responsibility during Reunion

May 28, 2009

Industrialist and philanthropist Ratan Tata ('59, B.Arch. '62) will discuss corporate social responsibility and his company's revolutionary new car during Cornell Reunion Weekend, June 4-7.

The annual Olin Lecture, June 5 at 3 p.m. in Bailey Hall, will feature a dialogue between Tata and President David Skorton on "Corporate Social Responsibility in the 21st Century." The event is free and open to the public.

Tata will give a presentation on Tata Motors' Nano automobile June 5 at 11 a.m. at the John Hartell Gallery in Sibley Hall. Tata and Kent Kleinman, dean of the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, will discuss the Nano -- touted as the world's least expensive car -- and its potential impact on Indian society, reshaping transportation by providing an affordable, safe alternative to the millions of two-wheeled vehicles now in use across India.

Tata, a Cornell trustee, is chairman and CEO of Tata Sons Ltd., the holding company for the Tata Group, the largest industrial conglomerate in India, comprising more than 80 companies ranging from energy to communications. The Tata family's many philanthropic trusts in India support literacy and educational programs, science and medicine, water conservation, and other grassroots community initiatives serving the poor. The Tata family received the Andrew Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2007, and Ratan Tata was cited in March 2007 by Barron's magazine as one of the 30 most respected CEOs in the world.

The Tata Education and Development Trust committed $50 million to Cornell in October 2008 to establish the Tata Scholarship Fund for Students from India and the Tata-Cornell Initiative in Agriculture and Nutrition, intended to improve the lives and livelihoods of India's rural poor.

Tata is a member of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity and will be presented with the national fraternity's 2008 Distinguished Merit Award on June 4. A documentary film, "Ratan Tata '59: The Cornell Story," will be shown June 4 and 6 in Statler Hall.

By Dan Aloi

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