Bollywood Stars Visit USF

Patel College hosted global stars Priyanka Chopra and Anil Kapoor for tree planting ceremony.

TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 16, 2014) On January 14, the Patel College of Global Sustainability welcomed Priyanka Chopra, an actress, singer, and winner of the 2000 Miss World pageant, and Anil Kapoor, an actor who starred in Academy Award-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, for a special tree planting ceremony at the University of South Florida. The stars visited Tampa as part of their three-city American tour promoting the 14th annual International Indian Film Awards that will take place April 24-26 in Tampa Bay.

Hundreds of cheering fans greeted the stars in front of the Patel Center for Global Solutions. Before taking their seats, Chopra and Kapoor posed for photos with many of the students and signed autographs.

Patel College Dean Kala Vairavamoorthy opened the event, thanking Chopra and Kapoor for visiting the university to plant the trees. “There is a saying that the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago,” he said. “The second best time is now.” Dean Vairavamoorthy then turned the program over to USF President Judy Genshaft.

President Genshaft expressed her excitement that Tampa will be the first city in the United States to have the honor of hosting IIFA. “Today we are commemorating your visit and our shared commitment to sustainability by doing one of my favorite things and that is planting trees,” she said. “Not only to provide shade and beauty to our campus, but to help offset the carbon footprint of our busy university.”

Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel, whose generous endowment helped found the Patel College of Global Sustainability, were instrumental in bringing IIFA to Tampa. IIFA, with its trademark “Green Carpet” and commitment to sustainability, is a natural partner for the Patel College. Dr. Kiran Patel spoke about how proud he is of the college’s success. “In the United States, we will be the first college of sustainability,” he said. “There are programs, but there are no colleges that have had programs already impacting countries around the world on water and sustainability.”

Before planting the trees, Chopra and Kapoor took a moment to address their fans. “I am so happy that my tree is going to be a part of USF,” Chopra said. “It’s our world, it’s our earth, we look after it. We are really, really proud, from the movie film industry, the Hindi film industry, from Anil and me and everybody else who can’t be here.” Pointing to the Patel College, Kapoor stated, “I am taking admission in this college!” to enthusiastic cheers and applause from the audience.

Previous IIFA events have been hosted in countries all over the world such as the UK, South Africa, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Thailand, Canada and Sri Lanka, but the 2014 event in Tampa will be the first in the United States. For more information about the 2014 International Indian Film Awards, visit

Article Courtesy of Patel College of Global Sustainability.