Celebration of Vanu Bose

Saturday, November 25, 2017

As prepared for delivery

Judy. Maya. Prema. Ursula. Thank you for allowing us to embrace your family within the great family of MIT this morning.

It’s that word “family” that I’ve returned to again and again these last two weeks as I’ve thought about Vanu.

Vanu was born into the MIT family, the son of one of our most revered and successful alumni. He was raised here, ultimately earning three MIT degrees. Along the way, he even served as a teaching assistant for his father; he called it the “single greatest” educational experience in his time on our campus.

Vanu lived and breathed MIT.  Our core values were ingrained in his DNA.  He understood the role technology can play in solving complex problems. And with Vanu, Inc., he set out to change the world.

Vanu saw that more than a billion people have little or no cellular coverage and he saw a challenge. Using his Community Connect device “a network in a box” he worked to bring cellular service to rural areas, connecting the unconnected from Vermont to Rwanda to Alaska. 

Most recently, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Vanu, Inc. sent cellular systems, free of charge, to those struggling to reach their loved ones.

If you have any doubt about the critical role our alumni play in advancing MIT’s vision for a better world, you don’t need to look any further than Vanu.

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Earlier this week, we celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Bose Research Fellows, a program that enables highly creative and unusual research in areas hard to fund through traditional means.

Vanu was passionate about the fellowship program. And he was deeply committed to the Bose Fellows and the promise of their research.

At Tuesday’s reception, Judy spoke eloquently about Vanu and the special relationship he enjoyed with his father. As she was talking, I couldn’t help but think that this wonderful program, launched to support groundbreaking research and celebrate Amar’s legacy, had become much more.  It had become, and it will remain, a celebration of Vanu’s legacy, as well.

One of my favorite things about attending the Bose Fellows reception each year was seeing Vanu interact with Judy and Kamala.  He was always warm and playful, and I could see how deeply he loved, and was loved by, his family. In fact, he was loved by everyone who knew him.

As we gather to remember Vanu and celebrate his life, I hope all of the members of the Bose family with us today know and feel that they are members of our family, too.  And I hope they know that this is a meaningful and permanent embrace born out of love and respect.

MIT mattered deeply to Vanu, and he mattered deeply to us. On behalf of MIT, I am honored to host this morning’s celebration on our campus