Shobhana and Shyam Bhartia, Doctors of Humane Letters

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The major business executives in India received honorary degrees from Dartmouth during commencement.

Shobhana Bhartia and Shyam S. Bhartia
(Photo by Herb Swanson)

SHOBHANA and SHYAM BHARTIA, as successful business executives, you have modeled leadership and commitment in your chosen fields while inspiring a nation of visionary women and entrepreneurs, respectively, in India.

Shobhana, you joined the Hindustan Times as chief executive in 1986 at the age of 29—the first woman to become chief executive of a national newspaper in India, and one of the youngest to take on the role. Rising to chairperson and editorial director at HT Media Limited, you transformed what had been a single-paper company into a successful media conglomerate. You sought to draw youth into public discourse, and you did, broadening the scope of the paper while using multi-media platforms to reach entirely new demographics in entirely new geographies. In so doing, you not only educated and informed your citizenry, but helped shape public opinion in the world’s largest democracy.

Shyam, over the course of four decades, you have earned a reputation as an astute business executive with an eye for opportunity. Together with your brother, Hari, you co-founded the Jubilant Bhartia Group where, as chairman, you grew a family business into a highly successful international conglomerate. You began in chemicals, transitioned to pharmaceuticals, and expanded to international food retail, proving that your business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit transcend industry. With four companies listed on Indian Stock Exchanges, you’ve led and inspired a global workforce of more than 46,000 employees, while demonstrating a deep commitment to corporate social responsibility.

Together, Shobhana and Shyam, you are the ultimate power couple, and you’ve used that power for good—Shobhana, through your service in parliament and advocacy for women and education, and Shyam, through the Jubilant Bhartia Foundation and your commitment to cultivating a new generation of social entrepreneurs.

For your outstanding achievements in business and in service to your country and communities, Dartmouth is proud to award you each the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

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