Supporting students to create stronger communities

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December 3, 2020

Nalin Damani photo
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The Damani family story is one of community.

Nalinkant (Nalin) Damani, MS ’63, immigrated to the United States of America after completing his undergraduate degree in India. He didn’t have a lot when he came over and, as a result, experienced much hardship. But everywhere Nalin went, he built or became part of a community of friends and family – always rooted in the belief in the importance of education.

“(My dad) didn’t know much about Ohio State when he came from India – his family couldn’t afford to send him to college, but his brother helped and he was in a work-study program and worked in labs,” said Milan Damani, Nalin’s son. “Dad wanted to be a doctor. He kind of fell into pharmacy and at the time he got his pharmacy degree, India was a newly formed democracy. There were hardships (and) the U.S. was a land of opportunity where he could build his own path.”

Nalin enjoyed his time at Ohio State but didn’t have enough money for winter clothes or much food. To make money, he sold encyclopedias with other students on the weekends. He would also get together with students from different parts of India to cook Indian food and share their culture.

“Ohio State had a deep meaning for Dad. He had a true passion around education,” Milan said.

After he finished pharmacy school, Nalin moved across the country to California. He spent most of his career in pharmaceuticals, the last 28 years at Proctor and Gamble. He created numerous patents.

“My dad’s brilliance transcended any one product area in pharmacy,” Milan said. “My dad received a number of patents for periodontal disease treatments and regenerative products and worked on transdermal delivery of medication. He also acquired license technologies to deploy medicine into the body to address different disease states.”

In 2016, Nalin passed away from complications from kidney disease, which he battled for over a decade. His wife, Taruna, and sons, Milan and Manish, have since been working on a way to honor Nalin.

“We’ve been fortunate in our lives and our careers. When we think about where our lives have come from, we think about how we can give back and make an impact on others,” Milan said. “We want to be an example of how to create a stronger and healthier community overall by passing on the legacy of education and helping others get educated.”

To bring this legacy to fruition, the family created the Nalinkant C. Damani Scholarship Fund, which offsets the cost of education for four College of Pharmacy PharmD students and allows them to focus on their studies and pharmacy rotations.

Nalin’s family is honoring his memory by strengthening their community through education – just as Nalin did when he came to the U.S.

“My dad was very focused on education – it was the most important thing. It takes a community to grow an individual,” Milan said. “Often today, people need a helping hand – and that’s why this is so important to us.