June 9, 2014 at 4:59 PM
NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Augustine (Gus) Pushparaj has been given Rotary Club International’s highest recognition, the Service Above Self award.
The New Providence resident became one of only 125 Rotarians to receive the award in 2014. Nationally, the social club has 1.2 million members. Pushparaj is a member of the Summit-New Providence Rotary Club.
“Throughout his life and years of Rotary service, he has demonstrated exemplary humanitarian service with extraordinary volunteer efforts and active involvement in helping others through Rotary,” Local club president Christy Hodde said. “Above all other characteristics, Gus continues to be humble and modest about his passion.”
A native of Tamil Nadu in southern India, Pushparaj came to the U.S. in the 1960s to study civil engineering at the age of 21.
While in college, Pushparaj founded an International Student’s Association, which helped students from foreign countries to adjust to U.S. life.
Upon graduation, he became involved in the construction of pharmaceutical facilities. After an illustrious career at CIBA-Geigy, he retired in 1998 as Director of Engineering.
Upon retirement, he has used income from his post-retirement consulting work to help fund a computer-sciences facility at a school in his home village. Pushparaj helped the local Rotary club become involved in educational efforts to improve village life in Tamil Nadu.
The Summit-New Providence club’s donation was multiplied several times through matching donations from various levels of Rotary, including the international organization.
Gus's enthusiasm for this project led several local club members to visit the school in 2006, with Gus and his wife, Dr. Neela Pushparaj, a local pathologist and accomplished painter, as their guide.
These members witnessed firsthand the power of small investment to yield huge returns, as the school has influenced many children's lives.
Outside of his Rotarian efforts, Gus has volunteered is engineering background to non-profit organizations such as the Summit YMCA, the NJ Center for Visual Arts, and The Connection for Women and Families.
He is a trustee at the Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child in Summit, chairing several committees of the board of trustees. This past year, he helped establish a new visiting program in India for Oak Knoll students.
Editor's Note: TAP into New Providence would like to congratulate Gus for his tremendous efforts and for being named one of the 125 Service Above Self award recipients.