Vilas Dhar was a member of the graduating class of 2000. During his time at Uni, Dhar was involved with many clubs including Spanish club, World Affairs Organization, Anime Club and more. Another extracurricular Dhar was involved with at Uni was accessing the NCSA building where his passion for computing grew. Dhar’s favorite memories of Uni were Agora Days, where he was intrigued by the freedom to explore his curiosity about a wide range of topics, and be the “creators of our own academic journeys”. Dhar also mentioned “the combination of academic opportunity, but also confidence building, creating a sense of self” at Uni helped him later in life.
After graduating from Uni, Dhar attended UIUC where he studied Computer Science and Bioengineering as a part of the campus honors program. During his journey at Uni and in college, Dhar realized that he was fascinated by technology and loved creating new tools and products to change peoples lives for the better. As a result, he committed to creating this positive change in the world through technology. Dhar continued to law school at NYU Law where he became a human rights lawyer, and utilized technology to fight things such as child labor, and continued on to receive a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.
Today, Dhar leads the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, a multibillion dollar philanthropy that focuses on equity in technology, as well as an investor in the private sector where he supports entrepreneurs. The foundation supports the idea that a future with AI can be sustainable, thriving, and equitable. Dhar hopes that we can achieve equity in AI in the future, meaning that there should be more diversity in the technologists who are at the forefront of creating new technologies.
Interview with Vilas Dhar