Raj Maheshwari, B.S.’83

The Spirit of Intellectual Curiosity

By Amy Halloran, B.A.’90

Raj Maheshwari, founder and director of the merchant-banking company Charlestown Capital Advisors, remembers coming to UAlbany more than three decades ago wearing a three-piece suit relatives bought him when he landed in New Jersey. This suit, he said, showed how little he knew of campus life, coming from India.

Professor Nell Sedransk, however, helped direct Maheshwari. During office hours, the two had long conversations about math and his future. Their discussions fed his curiosity and steered him toward courses that built his thinking. One, in logic, “spurred my interest in computer science and applied math,” Maheshwari said. The class, which taught how to use logical statements to construct arguments in math and computers, “was one of the best courses I have taken, and it has continued to help me.”

Sedransk “knew math that could amaze you. I owe her a significant amount of gratitude,” added Maheshwari, recalling that his mentor also helped him get into an upper-level statistics class taught by her husband, Joe Sedransk.

For Maheshwari, a tough course in designing compilers seemed to sum up his experience at UAlbany: It’s what you make of it. The University, he said, “was the most fantastic thing that happened to me.” Instructors were incredibly cooperative, “especially for someone who wasn’t familiar with the American college system. They made me feel so welcome.”

In 2012, grateful for the promotion of intellectual curiosity and for his education, Maheshwari endowed a UAlbany colloquium series honoring his parents, Man Mohan and Asha Devi Maheshwari. The series will draw scholars to the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.