- Honorary Degree (1995)
- Doctor of Laws
- Indianapolis, Indiana
- Presenter: Myles Brand
- Thomas Hart Benton Mural Medallion (1992)
- International Council Dinner
- Presenter: Thomas Ehrlich
Tan Sri Ani Arope was an exceptional leader in Malaysian business. In 1990 he was chosen to lead the national electric utility, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), through its transition to a private company. Although the transition was mandated, he faced considerable opposition to the change. Within several years, however, his leadership had turned adversaries into supporters. Tenaga's profits soared, even as the user fees remained the same. Tenaga emerged as one of the largest and most profitable private ventures in Southeast Asia, and has come to symbolize the economic success of Malaysia. In 1994 Business Week ranked Tenage as the most valuable company in Malaysia and the 111th most valuable company in the world.
Born in Penang in 1932, Tan Sri Ani Arope soon gained an appreciation of diversity. He was the only Malay boy during his years at St. Xavier's Institution, and he was one of only two non-Catholics in his graduating class. Higher education abroad furthered this appreciation. He earned a Bachelor in Agricultural Science degree in 1960 from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study in the United States, where he earned a Master of Science degree at the University of Vermont in 1966. He received four honorary doctoral degrees.
Dr. Ani Arope is well known within Malaysia for his leadership in tying education to economic development. His career experiences range from agriculture to banking. He served as deputy director of the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute from 1969 to 1972, and from 1974 to 1985 he was the director of the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia. Before joining Tenaga in 1990, he was the chairman of the National Savings Bank and group chief executive of Kumpulan Guthrie Berhad, an international agribusiness comprising Malaysia's largest plantation holdings.
His multicultural commitment to education led to deep and far-reaching ties with IU. In 1991 he was appointed as a charter member of the IU International Council. He also served as the chairman of the board of the MARA Institute of Technology. Additionally, profits from Tenaga enabled Dr. Ani Arope to help educate the next generation of Malaysia's engineers and business professionals. A foundation created by Tenaga provides funding for educational outreach, with IUPUI's new engineering program at Tenaga's training facility in Malaysia. This program will ultimately transform the facility into a center of excellence in engineering education in Southeast Asia.
Although one of the most influential leaders in Malaysia, Dr. Ani Arop was an easily approachable man of good humor. Such spirit, paired with his exceptional leadership, enabled Dr. Ani Arope to lead Tenaga into the private sector and success. "Not only was Dr. Ani Arope been an ardent supporter of Indiana University and the American system of higher education in Malaysia", notes Alfred R. Potvin, dean of the IUPUI School of Engineering and Technology. "He himself embodied the best result of a liberal education- a skilled generalist, a truly modern-day Renaissance man."