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New Sujata Madan Award celebrates kindness

Students in the Desautels Faculty of Management have banded together to create an award that will pay tribute to a professor who has always gone the extra mile for them.

A group of 11 McGill alumni is spurring on future students toward greater integrity and generosity with a new award created in honour of Sujata Madan, a professor of practice in finance at the Desautels Faculty of Management.

The Sujata Madan Award is unique among awards at McGill in that it is primarily geared toward recognizing students who play an active role in their communities, demonstrate exceptional empathy and care, and consistently support their peers, both in and out of the classroom. The selection committee will consider nominations and endorsements from candidates’ classmates.

“We wanted to publicly thank Sujata in a manner that will inspire future generations of McGill students to make a difference in the lives of others,” says Chafik Hamad, MBA’15, who is spearheading the project.

Throughout her 16 years of teaching at McGill, Madan’s heart for service has extended far beyond lecture halls and PowerPoint slides. Radhika Rana, MBA’20, a senior consultant at Deloitte, says that she is just one of thousands of students whose lives have been touched by Madan’s willingness to help, whatever the circumstance. From offering mock interview practice over the phone late at night to walking alongside someone in crisis, Madan’s unconditional care has played an instrumental role in helping students launch their careers and navigate the personal challenges that come their way.

“Sujata was pivotal in in helping me realize my true potential,” says Rana. “She provided practical feedback to help me strengthen my networking and interviewing skills, which was key in my career transition from audit to consulting. Even now that I have graduated and am working full-time, I know she is there for me every step of the way.”

Madan brings warmth and light to every interaction, whether she has just met the person or known them for years, and this contagious joy is not limited to her students. She goes out of her way to get to know fellow faculty and staff members, encouraging them in their work.

“In my 22 years of working at McGill, Sujata is the most generous, kind, and thoughtful professor I have met,” says Giuseppe “Joe” Gagliano, an acting porter at Desautels. “I can recall many times when she has shared her food with me and my colleagues or bought dinner for us and her students.”

Not one to seek the spotlight, Madan says she was touched beyond words when she heard about the project. She initially wanted to name the award after her students, who she identifies as her inspiration to continue her work as teacher, mentor, and friend.

“I am overjoyed to see my students paying it forward through this initiative,” says Madan. “They exemplify the spirit of collaboration and humility that is essential to leadership.”

More than $50,000 has been raised in donor support, making the Sujata Madan Award a permanently endowed fund that will offer future student recipients the distinctive honour as well as a monetary award. Donors can continue to contribute to increase the award’s impact. The alumni team spearheading the project hopes this award will lay the groundwork for others to follow suit and create similar funds to recognize and reward selfless service in students.

“Sujata’s impact on our lives is not just for us,” Hamad reflects. “Because she empowered us, we have the privilege of empowering others who will do the same for their communities, and so on. In this way, even just one person’s kindness can change the world.”

If you would like to join the thousands of generous donors who inspire McGill students to use their education in service to others, you can help fund the Sujata Madan Award here.