Two Indian Americans, Chandrika Tandon and Ram Shriram are among the 93 honorees to be honored at the 35th annual group of 2020 Ellis Island Medals of Honor recipients
According to the NECO website, “the Ellis Island Medals of Honor embody the spirit of America in their celebration of patriotism, tolerance, brotherhood and diversity. They recognize individuals who have made it their mission to share with those less fortunate their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents and selfless generosity; all while maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage as they uphold the ideals and spirit of America. As always, NECO remains dedicated to the maintenance and restoration of America’s greatest symbol of its immigrant history, Ellis Island.”
“The Ellis Island Medals of Honor embody the spirit of America in their salute to tolerance, brotherhood, diversity and patriotism,” said the organization in a press statement. “Honorees may be native-born or naturalized, but most importantly, they are individuals who have made it their mission to share their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents and selfless generosity with those less fortunate.”
Chandrika Tandon is a business leader, Grammy-nominated artist and humanitarian. Composer and vocalist, CHANDRIKA, has been trained by masters in Hindustani, Carnatic, and Western Traditions. Her album – Soul Call – topped world music charts, garnering great acclaim, and earning a Grammy nomination. All four of her albums were released under her not-for-profit label, Soul Chants Music.
A graduate of the Madras Christian College and the Indian Institute of Management, Tandon is chairperson of Tandon Capital Associates and a member of the board of directors at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Berklee Presidential Advisory Council of the Berklee College of Music, according to her bio.
Tandon is also the vice-chairman of the board of trustees at New York University, chair of the President’s Global Council, and chair of the board of the Tandon School of Engineering, which she brought the naming rights to in 2014 for $100 Million. She also serves on the boards of the NYU Stern School of Business and the NYU Langone Health System.
Chandrika is a recognized leader in the worlds of business, education, and the arts, dedicated to public service. In addition to being founder and head of her financial advisory firm, she is a member of the Board of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the Berklee School of Music’s President’s Council. Additionally, the Berklee Tandon Global Clinics connect world-class music faculty from the US to other countries. At New York University, she is Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Chair of the President’s Global Council, Chair of the Board of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and she serves on the Boards of the NYU Stern School of Business and the NYU Langone Health System.
Chandrika has received several awards for integrity and leadership – the Gallatin Medal, New York University’s highest honor for outstanding contributions to society; the Walter Nichols Medal for leadership and integrity; and the Polytechnic Medal, recognizing her involvement in science and engineering. In recognition of her efforts on behalf of higher education, she was inducted as a Sterling Fellow at Yale and into the Harold Acton Society of New York University. She was named an Inaugural Distinguished Alumnus of both the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and Madras Christian College – her two alma maters. Chandrika is Chair of the Krishnamurthy Tandon Foundation.
Shriram is a billionaire businessman. He is a founding board member and one of the first investors in Google, his bio notes. He earlier served as an officer of Amazon.com working for Jeff Bezos. Shriram came to Amazon in August 1998 when Amazon acquired Junglee, an online comparison-shopping firm of which Shriram was president.
Before Junglee and Amazon, Shriram was a member of the Netscape executive team, joining them in 1994, before they shipped products or posted revenue, the bio said. Shriram earned a degree at Loyola College Chennai and the University of Madras.
Shriram was born in the port city of Chennai, which is located on the Bay of Bengal on the southeast coast of India. The city, once known as Madras, was renamed after India won its independence from Britain in 1947.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Madras in 1977.
After graduating, Shriram moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he worked for Bell-Northern Research and its sister company Nortel Networks Corp. In 1983, the job brought him to Silicon Valley.
Shriram became a vice president of Netscape Communications Corp. in 1994, the year the web browser company was founded. (It was acquired by America Online – AOL – in 1998 and later disbanded.)
In 1998, Shriram became president and chief operating officer of Junglee Corp., a Sunnyvale startup whose search engine – developed by former Stanford computer scientists – allowed online comparison shopping.
Later that same year, online retailing giant Amazon bought Junglee. Shriram became vice president of business development at Amazon, working for company founder, Jeff Bezos. Shriram left Amazon in January 2000 to start Sherpalo.
Shriram is a founding board member of Google Inc., which two former Stanford students – Larry Page and Sergey Brin – started in 1998, and 24/7customer.com, which provides business process outsourcing from Asian call centers.
He is married to Vidjealatchoumy “Vijay” Shriram, and the couple has two daughters, both of whom are students at Stanford.
The couple has served on Stanford’s Parents Advisory Board since 2006. In addition to various philanthropic programs in India, they have endowed the Shriram Family Professorship in Science Education in Stanford’s School of Education.
“Our recipients are the leaders taking our nation powerfully into the 21st century. They are the innovators and visionaries who are defining their generation and shaping our future. They also respect the value of their ethnic heritage and appreciate the importance of America’s immigrant history,” it says on the website, www.eihonors.org.
The Ellis Island Honor Society chair Nasser J. Kazeminy said in a statement that the honorees will be recognized at a formal gala, though it has been indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.