Indian American entrepreneur Frank Islam appointed to key Presidential commission

United States President Joe Biden announced last week that he intends to appoint Indian American entrepreneur and philanthropist Frank Islam to the Commission on Presidential Scholars.

A White House release on July 15 said Islam will be part of a 21-member commission. It stated, “The Commission on Presidential Scholars is a group of eminent private citizens appointed by the President to select and honor the Presidential Scholars. Commissioners are selected from across the country, representing the fields of education, medicine, law, social services, business, and other professions. The Commissioners make the final selection of the 161 Presidential Scholars. The Scholars demonstrate exceptional accomplishments in academics, the arts, career and technical education and an outstanding commitment to public service.”

The commission’s chair is Margaret Aitken Haggerty, a former spokesperson and press secretary for Biden when he was a senator. The Commission on Presidential Scholars is responsible for selecting 161 Presidential Scholars from academics, the arts, career, and technical education.

The White House release described Islam as an “entrepreneur, philanthropist, and civic leader with a special commitment to civic, educational, and artistic causes. He currently heads the FI Investment Group, a private investment holding company that he founded after he sold his information technology firm, the QSS Group, in 2007. Islam serves and has served on numerous boards and advisory councils including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the U.N. Foundation, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the Woodrow Wilson Center. He has also served or serves on boards and councils at several universities including John Hopkins, American University, George Mason University, the University of Maryland, and Harvard University.”

Islam was born in Azamgarh in India’s Uttar Pradesh state and studied at Aligarh Muslim University before moving to the US to study at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he earned a master’s degree in computer science. Islam and his wife, Debbie Driesman are well known Democratic Party donors and head a philanthropic foundation that promotes education, art and culture, and peace and conflict-resolution.