Monte Ahuja donates $3.5 million to The Ohio State University

Posted: January 11, 2013

Monte and Usha Ahuja

Monte Ahuja, Ohio State alumnus and founder of Transtar Industries in Cleveland, has donated $3.5 million to The Ohio State University to support student success and create the Monte Ahuja Endowed Dean’s Chair, which will be used to move the College of Engineering toward eminence.

Ahuja, who earned his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Ohio State in 1970, wanted to give back to his alma mater. “I began at Ohio State as an international student with a dream, determination, and empty pockets,” said Ahuja. “What I learned through my studies and from the university community – the faculty, staff and students – played a significant role in my entrepreneurial journey and accomplishments,” he continued. “My gift to the College of Engineering is an investment in students and success.”

Ahuja’s own success story is a remarkable illustration of the American dream. Born in India and educated at Punjab Engineering College, he came to Columbus in December 1968 for graduate school. While studying at Ohio State, he met his wife, Usha (a gold medalist for mathematics in India). He earned his master’s from the College of Engineering and she earned her Ph.D. from the College of Math and Physical Sciences. Ahuja then went on to complete his M.B.A. at Cleveland State University and establish his internationally successful automotive parts business, Transtar.

Always generous with his success, Ahuja’s noteworthy gift to the College of Engineering creates an endowed chair. David Williams, dean of the college, will be officially appointed the Monte Ahuja Endowed Dean’s Chair and will use the funds to grow and develop the engineering programs at Ohio State. The College of Engineering has more than 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students, and offers 17 undergraduate and 20 graduate degree programs through its 10 departments and the Knowlton School of Architecture.

“We are deeply grateful for this signature gift from our friend Monte Ahuja, who demonstrates a strong belief in the mission of this university,” said E. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State. “His generosity strengthens our work to prepare students as the future drivers of global innovation,” Gee continued. “To be certain, the Ahuja family continues to make a very real difference at Ohio State.”

While highlighting an amazing alumni success story, the gift also supports the university’s But for Ohio State fundraising campaign. In October 2012, the university launched a $2.5 billion university-wide campaign to raise funds for five priority areas: placing students first, elevating faculty and the academic enterprise, creating modern learning environments, emboldening our research agenda, and driving high-impact innovation.

About Monte Ahuja

Monte Ahuja, currently chairman and CEO of MURA Holdings, L.L.C., founded Transtar Industries in 1975. Transtar, now owned by Friedman, Fleischer & Lowe, soon became the leading worldwide company in the distribution of automotive transmission replacement parts to the aftermarket, and earned dozens of awards for its outstanding growth and community involvement under Ahuja’s leadership. He started the company after completing his M.B.A. at Cleveland State University, where he graduated with honors. Prior to attending Cleveland State, he earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Punjab Engineering College and his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Ohio State.

Ahuja has long shared his success with causes in which he believes. His generosity has extended to Cleveland State University, the University Hospital System of Cleveland, BioEnterprise, Ursuline College, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Musical Arts Association, and other non-profits. He previously served as a trustee of the Cleveland State University board for nine years and its chairman for six years. In 2011, to show their appreciation, Cleveland State named its business school the Monte Ahuja College of Business. Ahuja also served as chairman of the board for University Hospitals from 2005 to 2011, where in 2011, University Hospitals named its new hospital the Ahuja Medical Center to honor the Ahuja family.

Numerous awards are credited to Ahuja’s name, including a Distinguished Alumni Award from Cleveland State University in 1990; the George Dively Award by the Harvard University Business School in 1999; an Honorary Doctorate in Business from Cleveland State University in 2001; an Ellis Island Medal of Honor for Outstanding American Citizens in 2001; an International Executive of the Year Award by the World Trade Center of Cleveland in 2002; a Distinguished Alumni Award from The Ohio State University in 2000; and the Benjamin G. Lamme Meritorious Achievement Medal from Ohio State’s College of Engineering in 2011.

Monte and his wife, Usha, have been married for 40 years and have two daughters, Manisha (married to Neil Sethi, raising grandson Rohan and granddaughters Raina and Ria) and Ritu.

Category: College