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Alumnus Vivek Vaidya Establishes Fellowship for Engineering & Computer Science Students

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Sarah Satterwhite

Senior Editor, Strategic Content and Storytelling

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RSECS Building

“Growing up in India, education was fundamental to how we were raised,” says Vivek Vaidya (MS ’98). “I wouldn’t be here if my parents and grandparents hadn’t had such a focus on education.”

Vaidya’s educational journey brought him to the University of Denver, where he was the beneficiary of a fellowship while earning his masters degree in computer science.

He and his wife Pallavi recently made a gift to DU — their first gift to the University — to endow a graduate teaching fellowship, which will allow students from diverse backgrounds to study engineering and computer science at DU as he did. They had been planning on making the gift as his way of giving back; receiving a letter in the mail from DU was the catalyst for him to reach out and start the process. 

“It is wonderful to see Vivek using his entrepreneurial success as a way to lift up talented graduate students that might not otherwise have been able to afford graduate school,” says Michelle Sabick, dean of the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science. “His gift allows students to focus on learning and innovating rather than worrying about how to fund their educations.”

Vivek Vaidya

In addition to providing opportunities for students, Vaidya is also staying connected with them — including having lunch with PhD students during a recent campus visit. His involvement in the DU community gives him exposure to diverse talent that he may recruit to his business.

Vaidya is a serial entrepreneur, building companies that have sold to giant tech companies like Microsoft and Salesforce. His new venture is helping the next generation of startups through his startup studio Super{set} where he founds, funds and builds companies.

An experience he had as a DU student influences the way he operates in life and in business. He says he didn’t have the typical culture shock when he moved from India to DU. The experience that did surprise him, however, was the humility and approachable nature of the professors.

“They were extremely smart, and extremely open with their time,” he says. “In India, teachers are placed on a pedestal. It was a pleasant surprise here to see that the respect goes both ways. I was able to build very good relationships with my professors, and that experience has helped to define how I like to operate.”

“We are big believers in doing well by doing good,” he says, reflecting on his philanthropic investment and involvement with DU — which will have long-lasting impact on students’ educational and career opportunities.