Satish and Yasmin Gupta know how challenging college -- and looking for a job -- can be.
As a 19-year-old immigrant from India in the late 1970s, Yasmin Gupta was allocated $10,000 for room, board and other expenses at the University of Dallas. To earn more money, she worked full time every weekday as an assistant to the director of the philosophy department -- then she would attend classes in the evening.
Her husband, Satish Gupta, was attending college with her at the same time, working multiple jobs in the library and maintenance.
Within a year after moving to the U.S., he had started making plans for his company that would become SB International Inc., a privately held steel company headquartered in Dallas. In 2005, they formed Gupta Agarwal Charitable Foundation, which contributes to organizations to advance education, public health, medical research and cultural initiatives.
UNT at Frisco students are the beneficiary of their latest gift -- a $3 million donation to support scholarships and establish the Satish and Yasmin Gupta Career Center at Frisco Landing, providing help to college students as they pursue their dreams.
“I had to be willing to start from rock bottom and consider any door that opened so that I could learn how the business world worked in the U.S. and build experience,” she says. "We had no money, So we had to just begin step by step, but with the grace of God, here we are, where we are able to give back and help out others."
She found a position at a bank and quickly climbed the ranks. In 1987, she joined a group of other Indian immigrants and founded State Bank of Texas.
The Guptas chose to help launch a career center because it would help first-generation students and others from marginalized communities in finding opportunities.
The Career Center dedication, hosted at UNT’s Frisco Landing Sept. 21, was an event full of gratitude, excitement and hope for the dreams of current and future UNT students. During a reception before the official ribbon cutting, UNT President Neal Smatresk welcomed Satish and Yasmin Gupta as the newest members of the McConnell Society at UNT that honors inspirational donors whose cumulative lifetime giving totals $1 million or more. He then opened the Career Center dedication, thanking the Gupta family for their generosity to UNT in its mission to act as a social mobility elevator, creating economic prosperity in the North Texas region.
“It’s deeply meaningful that you’ve done this. You’ve put your money where your heart is and where our heart is,” said Smatresk, noting that the vision of UNT and the vision the Gupta family blends perfectly. “We’re here to change lives. We’re here to create generational wealth. We’re here to build strong, vibrant communities, and together we’ll continue to be a catalyst for student success.”
Audesh Paswan, dean of UNT at Frisco, encouraged students to use the Career Center to dream big.
“I believe that education’s value proposition platform is to help students fulfill their dreams, whatever their dreams are,” he says.
Satish Gupta shared his family’s excitement and hope for what the Career Center could do for underrepresented students.
“I am so proud. My family is happy to be associated with this growing institution,” he says.
“When I was at university, Yasmin and I felt there was very little help provided outside of the classroom. So, what we are hoping this Career Center will become is a bridgeway from the classroom to their career for these students.”
Satish also thanked Mayor Jeff Cheney and the City of Frisco for providing the space for the UNT at Frisco campus.
“There is no question in my mind that this new campus will become a landmark and a beacon in the DFW Metroplex in a very short period of time,” he says.
Ram Madhav, friend of the Gupta family, travelled to Texas from India to celebrate the dedication. He is president of the India Foundation, a New Delhi-based think tank. He shared his gratitude to Satish and Yasmin.
“We feel very happy when our own countrymen like Satish and Yasmin Gupta decide to pay back to this country, to this institution, because though this is a different country, they are investing in the place they live and want the community they live in to grow and prosper and afford others the same opportunities,” he said.
The Career Center will give all students access to UNT’s industry partners through panels, career fairs, networking events, professional development and more. The Gupta endowment also is expected to create 100 to 200 scholarships per year.
“College is an important decision in life, and the next important decision is the choice in their career path. The Career Center will help students bridge the gap between these two decisions and work toward achieving success,” says Yasmin Gupta. She reflects on her personal experience and shares her hope for all students to take advantage of all the Career Center can offer them.
“You will have your own journey. Your own story. Dream big.”