Senior Web Developer Wins Cardinal Principles Award for Noble Purpose

May 31, 2022

By Holly Hinson
headshot of Mani Vangalur

headshot of Mani Vangalur

When Mani Vangalur emigrated to Louisville, Kentucky from Chennai, India, the first thing he wanted to see was the Second Street bridge, where legend has it city icon Muhammad Ali threw his Olympic medal into the water when he was still known as Cassius Clay. Like Ali was, Vangalur is a champion for diversity and the underserved, and makes it his personal vocation to give back.

The senior web developer was recently awarded a Cardinal Principles Award for Noble Purpose to honor his commitment to mission. Vangalur received his Master’s in Electrical Engineering from Speed School in 1999. After working as a consultant, at Humana, and running his own company with fellow Speed School alumnae, he came full circle when he returned to his alma mater in 2018 to work in Speed Technology Solutions.

In addition to his duties as a web developer, Vangalur serves as Staff Senate Morale and Engagement Chair, and is a representative for Commission on Diversity and Racial Equity (CODRE).

In the Staff Senate, Vangalur sees an opportunity to make sure diverse voices are heard. “I’m a proud alum of the university and I’m pretty passionate about like how to improve our student retention and our quality of life for our staff,” he said. “If you improve the lives and the work environment for staff and faculty, the quality of education we provide to the students is automatically better.”

In CODRE, Vangalur believed his experience as an international student would be a valuable perspective. “Often in diversity, people only look at black or white or, you know, at the most Latinos,” said Vangalur. “But then there’s more to our student population and our staff and faculty, from China to Japan to Thailand, Africa, South America, India, Pakistan,” he said. “Maybe I can provide a sounding board for those voices or give my perspective as one of those students that came in myself.”

“He is a champion for those in need and the underrepresented,” said Travis Ross, Director, Speed Technology Solutions. “He helps his team understand why UofL should reflect the diverse makeup of our community and how to leverage our privilege for positive change,” he said.

“The more you interact with people everywhere, you find that, to even have a chance, they need better role models in their life,” said Vangalur. ”Maybe it’s because my dad’s a teacher, and we used to have all these students from different walks of life and backgrounds come into our house and learn.”

Ross said Vangalur “never seeks the spotlight or recognition, and he works almost tirelessly with a brilliant attitude.”

When Vangalur found out he won the Cardinal Award for Noble Purpose, he said he was surprised and humbled. “That just means that I need to continue my work to champion the causes of people like me when I first came here, who are in need of help.”

Why is he so passionate about his work at Speed School? “There are always IT jobs where you do your job and go home and make your money,” said Vangalur. “When we interact with students here, we help student success and admissions to see how students are doing, see how they can be improved. The best part here is knowing that you are actually making a difference,” he said. “That’s why I like to come into work every day.”