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Kanwal Rekhi tells grads that a degree is not a ticket to security, a degree means you have the knowledge and skill to get through adversity and difficulties.


Kanwal Rekhi and ECE Chair Tim Schulz


Giving the Grads a good pep talk.


Updare: See Hard times can actually be the best of times for would-be entrepreneurs, says Kanwal Rekhi

Kanwal Rekhi, a '69 Michigan Tech master's in electrical engineering graduate, is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. He tells how his family had left Pakistan when he was two years old, during Pakistan's separation from India. In a sense, the upheaval was good practice. "I've always considered myself a refugee," Rekhi said. Early in his career, he was faced with negotiating a quick series of jobs, moves and layoffs, which taught him a valuable lesson.

Employers are not in business to take care of you, he realized. "So I made sure I wouldn't be laid off again."

"I'm proud to be where I am," Rekhi concluded. "And I'm very happy to be able to give back to society."

A visionary in the technology industry, Kanwal has been active in the Silicon Valley community of entrepreneurs. He is head of Ensim Corporation, a global leader in hosting automation software.

Early in his career, he faced recurrent layoffs. After the third, he intended to become “self-sufficient.” In 1982, he founded Excelan, a pioneering computer networking company and one of the first to commercially develop the TCP/IP protocol.

Excelen merged with Novell, Inc., in 1989. Kanwal became executive vice president and led the firm’s product development and technology strategies, including Novell’s UNIX systems group. After leaving Novell, he went to work at Intellimatch, an Internet database service, and CyberMedia.

Kanwal now invests in companies that concentrate on software and networking systems. He has been recognized for his commitment to technology and business startups and was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Venture magazine in1987.
In 1994 he co-founded a nonprofit association that promotes wealth creation through entrepreneurship. The organization, based in California, has spread worldwide from its start with helping immigrants from India.

Kanwal and Ann have long supported Michigan Tech. Kanwal has received the Board of Control Silver Medal and an honorary Doctorate in Business and Engineering. He is a member of the Electrical Engineering Academy.

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