2019 Philanthropists of the Year: Shashi and Margaret Gupta

Shashi and Margaret Gupta pose with their award medallions

The Philanthropist Award is given every fall at the MSU Alumni Grand Awards Gala. The award honors those who have demonstrated outstanding philanthropic responsibility toward MSU and whose generosity inspires others. This year, alumnus Shashikant (Shashi) Gupta and his wife Margaret were bestowed with the award.

The Guptas might be a “house divided” when it comes to their alma maters—Shashi holds an MBA and PhD from MSU, while Margaret earned an MA at the University of Michigan—but there’s no question that they see eye to eye in life, work, and, most importantly, philanthropy.

They are the co-founders of an IT solutions company, Apex CoVantage, based near Washington, D.C.

Shashi is the company’s CEO, and Margaret is the COO, and also oversees the Gupta Family Foundation, which supports organizations around the globe dedicated to helping disadvantaged people become self-reliant.

They run their business and approach their giving in accordance with three deeply held values: integrity, excellence and respect for human dignity.

Those same values, and the Guptas’ sincere commitment to truly bettering the lives of those around them, are what has made the Gupta Values Scholarship—which they created at MSU in 2016 with a $2.5 million gift—so special.

Each year, the scholarship provides support for more than 20 students pursuing any field of study, encouraging them to partake in off-campus educational experiences, leadership opportunities, and other academic and co-curricular activities that strengthen their character and help them build a set of values of their own.

The best part? Each year, Shashi and Margaret host a group of Gupta Scholars in their D.C.-area hometown, where they visit the Guptas’ company and the social organizations they support. The Guptas are present throughout the weekend, accompanying the students on thought-provoking field trips, introducing them to interesting people, and then welcoming the whole group into their home for fellowship and a meal.

“One of the things we wanted to do differently was to have an ongoing relationship with the students. We wanted to know them, have conversations with them, so as to give concrete and real meaning to the values,” says Shashi Gupta.