College Connections Honored with ‘Indian Republic Day’ Awards

The India Republic Day Award Honorees

A member of the faculty of SUNY Old Westbury and a long-time friend and supporter of the College were among the six community leaders presented with “Indian Republic Awards” by Nassau County Executive Laura Cullan.

Dr. Runi Mukherji Ratnam, chair of the SUNY Old Westbury Psychology Department, and Dr. Bhupendra Patel, a trustee of the Old Westbury College Foundation, Inc., were honored for the leadership and commitment they exhibit in both the Indian-American community in the county and the greater community of Long Island as a whole.

The awards were presented to mark the 69th Indian Republic Day. The holiday is celebrated on January 26 of each year to commemorate the adoption of India's constitution, completing the country's transition toward becoming an independent republic.

Dr. Mukherji Ratnam joined the SUNY Old Westbury faculty in 1981 and currently serves as chair of the Psychology Department. Professionally, she also serves as consultant to the center for immigrant Health and Center for the study of Global Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Mukherji-Ratnam is also a member of the Board of Directors of the South Asian Council of Social Services, an organization that addresses the barriers to services faced by a growing South Asian community. Her desire to share her Indian heritage with her children also led her to found the Young Indian Culture Group two decades ago, which currently has more than 400 students participate in its language, literature, history and fine arts classes and activities.

As a member of the foundation board, Dr. Patel works alongside College President Calvin O. Butts, III  to raise funds to support the student scholarships and college programming. Active in numerous civic and charitable organizations and programs, Dr. Patel is referred to by many as a pillar of the local community. He was Chief of Medicine at Mount Sinai of Queens Hospital from 1999 to 2010. He earned his doctorate from Baroda Medical College in Gujarat, India. 

Photo Caption: SUNY Old Westbury Psychology Professor Dr. Runi Mukherji Ratnam (seventh from right) and Old Westbury College Foundation Trustee Dr. Bhupendra Patel (sixth from left) among the group of honorees of the 2018 India Republic Day Awards.