Home VT graduate, Blacksburg native Mehul Sanghani to speak at university’s commencement
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VT graduate, Blacksburg native Mehul Sanghani to speak at university’s commencement

Crystal Graham
Mehul Sanghani
Submitted/Mehul Sanghani

A Virginia Tech graduate, who with his wife, made a gift to the university to create a food pantry for students facing food insecurity, will deliver the keynote address at the school’s commencement ceremony on May 10.

Mehul Sanghani graduated from Virginia Tech with bachelor’s degrees in industrial and systems engineering as well as psychology.

He is a Blacksburg native. His family immigrated to the United States from India in 1979 when he was only 3 years old. As owners of the Red Carpet Inn on South Main Street, his parents instilled in him a fierce work ethic and appreciation for opportunity.

“Mehul’s life, career, spirit of service and remarkable support for his alma mater and community are an inspiration for Hokies everywhere,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “His experience is a powerful example for these graduates who are about to begin their own impactful journeys.”

In 2021, Sanghani and his wife Hema, also a Virginia Tech graduate, made a historic $10 million gift to their alma mater; $1.5 million of the gift was allocated to establish The Market of Virginia Tech, a first-of-its-kind on-campus food pantry.

The Sanghanis’ gift also endowed the Sanghani Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics and established the Sanghani Player Lounge to support the Virginia Tech football team.

Sanghani is the chief executive officer and founder of Octo, a technology firm focused on solving national security’s most complex problems. Octo has been repeatedly recognized, catching the attention of a number of Fortune 100 companies, as an acquisition target. In January 2023, IBM announced it was acquiring the company for just under $1.3 billion.

The University Commencement ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m. on May 10 in Lane Stadium.

A complete schedule of commencement ceremonies and additional commencement information can be found online at commencement.vt.edu.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.