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Saroki, Pawar to receive honorary doctoral degrees at Lawrence Tech

Release Date: May 14, 2008

Southfield, Mich. Prominent architect Victor Saroki and India political leader Sharad Pawar will receive honorary doctoral degrees when Lawrence Tech holds its commencement on Sunday, May 18, at 2 p.m. at Cobo Arena in Detroit.

Saroki, who has two degrees from Lawrence Tech and is a member of the university’s Board of Trustees, will be awarded an honorary doctorate in architecture and deliver the commencement address.

Pawar, who has served as India’s minister of agriculture and minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution since 2004, will receive an honorary doctorate in humanities.

Saroki’s work has been recognized by over 50 design awards and in over 40 articles on design, including eight in national publications. His Birmingham-based firm, Victor Saroki & Associates Architects PC, was named by AIA Michigan as the 2007 Firm of the Year. Its commissions have included residences, theaters, restaurants, retail, galleries and hotels. One recent commission, the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, received the 2006 People’s Choice “M” Award from the Masonry Institute of Michigan.

Saroki was awarded the AIA Detroit Young Architect of the Year Award in 1994, and in 1998 received the University’s Distinguished Architecture Alumni Award. 

He is a former president of the Detroit Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) where he remains active, and also serves on the board of AIA Michigan. He was named to the prestigious College of Fellows by the national AIA in 2000.  

In 1978, Pawar became India’s youngest chief minister at age 38 when he became the executive head of government of Maharashtra, India’s most developed and urbanized state, second most populous, and third largest in geographic size. Mumbai, its capital, is India’s largest city and business center.

In 1991, he was appointed India’s defense minister. In 1995, he was elected to India’s parliament (Lok Sabha, the House of the People) and became leader of the Congress party. In 2001, he became vice chairman of the National Committee on Disaster Management.

His policies as agriculture and food minister have helped revive his nation’s agricultural sector. Harvests of wheat, rice, oilseeds, cotton and sugarcane have markedly improved. The India-U.S. Knowledge Initiative launched during his tenure has increased pioneering research in technology and agriculture between the two nations. He also serves as president of the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI).

Pawar is a strong advocate of education. One of India’s leading K-12 international schools is named in his honor. In 1972, he founded Vidya Pratisthan, a primary, secondary and collegiate institution serving 16,000 students and offering degrees through the graduate level.

Pawar is also president of Pune’s Vasantdada Sugar Institute for post-graduate and certificate-level academic study, research, technology development and consulting. Improving educational opportunities is core to his belief that his nation can continue to develop as a global hub for software production, telecommunications, biotechnology and information technology.

Pawar has stood for a society free from the caste and communal biases that tend to influence politics in India. He was India’s first chief minister to formulate a progressive gender policy.

Active in the United Nations and World Health Organizations, Pawar won praise for his leadership of the UN Disaster Management Team that provided relief for earthquake victims of Maharashtra’s Latur and Osmanabad districts. In recognition of his role in parliament and public life, he was conferred the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 2007.

Lawrence Technological University,, offers over 80 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management. Founded in 1932, the 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes 75 years ago, and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus is in Southfield, with education centers in Lansing, Livonia, Clinton Township, Traverse City and Petoskey. Lawrence Tech also offers programs with partner universities in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.