Back in the late 1980s when Coastal Carolina University offered Sunny Gupta a scholarship to attend the school, they never imagined they would be renaming the College of Science for him years later.
CCU President David DeCenzo said that when Sunny Gupta was applying to college, out of the six or seven very well-known universities he sent information to, only one saw his potential.
“There was only one school [CCU] that recognized his talents and offered him a scholarship,” DeCenzo said.
Gupta’s recent generous endowment to the school was honored on Tuesday with the unveiling of the Gupta College of Science on campus.
CCU officials say his gift was one of the largest ever received by the University, and will provide financial resources and student scholarship support for the college, which has more than 4,300 students and the largest enrollment of the university’s six academic colleges.
Gupta, a native of Chandigarh, India, served as an intern in the Chancellor’s Office, was a resident adviser and was president of the International Club. He also worked in the computer science lab. Gupta is the cofounder and CEO of Apptio, one of the nation’s fastest-growing software as a service (SaaS) companies. Founded in 2007, Apptio is headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., with an additional 15 offices around the world. Gupta led Apptio to an initial public offering in September 2016 then its acquisition by Vista Equity Partners in January 2019 for $1.94 billion. He won the 2011 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Pacific Northwest.
Gupta was impressed with how he was received at Coastal when he attended, graduating in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a minor in mathematics that he completed in three years.
“People were so warm and welcoming,” Gupta said. “They gave me the opportunity to work hard and learn a lot. We wanted to give back to Coastal Carolina University, to pay this back.”
Jeanne Dehetre, a junior Information Technology major from Mechanicsville, Va., said that the strong academic education she received from the Gupta College of Science was giving her the opportunity to follow her dream of being a digital forensic investigator.
“When alumni care to give back, it makes me proud to be a Coastal Carolina University student,” Dehetre said.
Interim Provost Dr. Daniel Ennis said that the students of Gupta College of Science will go on to do great things.
“They will teach. They will conduct research. They will solve problems we were unable to solve,” Ennis said.
DeCenzo praised Gupta’s gift and congratulated him on his professional successes.
“[This gift] will support students and make an impact well beyond this university,” DeCenzo said. “Thank you for your thoughtfulness to pay it forward – it is to be commended.”
Gupta and his wife Prerna have two children, Zubin and Zoe, and reside in Kirkland, Wash. The couple previously established the Sunny and Prerna Gupta Alumni Scholarship at CCU.