||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2012)|
Kanwal Rekhi (born 1945) is an Indian-American businessman. Kanwal was born in Rawalpindi (then in British India, now in Pakistan). After the partition of India, his family settled in Kanpur, India. In 1967 Rekhi graduated as an electrical engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India and in 1969 he received a Master of Science degree from Michigan Technological University. Kanwal has been a major donor to Michigan Tech, including a gift of $5 million for new computer science facilities. He worked as an engineer, systems analyst, and manager for many years before starting his own business venture in 1982. After graduating and moving to San Jose, at the age of thirty-six he cofounded and served as CEO of Excelan, a high tech company. Forbes Magazine writes that Excelan pioneered Ethernet networking technology, one of the basic building blocks of the Internet.
Excelan was a manufacturer of smart Ethernet cards, and was also credited for the commercial growth of the internet protocol TCP/IP. The company merged with, and was acquired by Novell in 1989 and Kanwal was given a seat on the board. Dorothy Leonard and Walter Swap speak highly of him in an article on The Knowledge Coach, January 10, 2005 in Research & Ideas section of Working Knowledge weekly newsletter, Harvard Business School.
Kanwal Rekhi is a past Chairman and trustee of TiE, The Indus Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit support network to provide advice, contacts, and funding to Indian Americans hoping to start businesses. Forbes Magazine reports that Kanwal has helped energize TiE and as a philanthropist he has made major contributions to education, supporting universities on two continents. He is a prime benefactor of a foundation in India that identifies talented students without funds, and provides them with college tuition and living expenses. He is also a former Chairman of the Centre for Civil Society, a think tank in India. He is currently a board member of Pan IIT USA, Inc, the alumni organization of the Indian Institutes of Technology.