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Walden Magazine // Jan 01, 2015

Beyond Borders: Special Deliveries

Dr. Shamir Andrew Ally brings business books—and hope—back to his home country of Guyana.

Dr. Shamir Andrew Ally presents books to the University of Guyana library.

Dr. Shamir Andrew Ally presents books to the University of Guyana library.

In the library—its shelves nearly bare, save for a few battered and outdated volumes—a young man was hungrily reading through the pages of a crisp, new textbook on accounting. Dr. Shamir Andrew Ally ’94 watched nearby, peering to see if there was a telltale dot on the tome. When he saw it, he smiled.

Ally, a Ph.D. in Applied Management and Decision Sciences (now Ph.D. in Management) graduate and Alumni Ambassador, donated that textbook to the University of Guyana’s library. It’s just one of the more than $100,000 in books on management, accounting, leadership, and health that the Guyana native and his wife, Dr. Maryann Renee Beebe Ally, have gifted to the school (and marked with a dot) since 2004.

“I believe that education is one of the key drivers for success for individuals and for a nation as a whole,” says Ally, president and CEO of International Consulting Services, based in North Carolina. “I wanted to do something to give back.”

Giving back is something Ally has always wanted to do, especially to help his home country of Guyana, the third-poorest country in South America. Although he had studied business at the University of Guyana in 1978, he briefly considered politics as a way to help change his country for the better but soon realized that approach wasn’t likely to be effective. He moved to the U.S. and completed a bachelor’s and master’s in business administration, but having an academic understanding of business wasn’t enough. He wanted to go to a university that could help him use his business background to improve the picture for Guyana. So he enrolled at Walden.

“Walden’s professors encouraged me to give back to my country, knowing that development and business could be better than aid,” he says.

Meanwhile, he got a message from a friend in Guyana: The library at his alma mater was perilously low on business textbooks. The books that were available were either out of date or based on British laws. Ally was inspired to buy 50 books in the U.S. and send them to the school. His donations have increased during the last seven years. When he visits the university, he sees that nine out of 10 business students are using the books he donated. And that feels good.

“We all can give more of ourselves. We can start small and do something that fits with our lives and what we understand,” says Ally, now a professor of management at William Loveland College in Colorado and a visiting professor at the Romanian-American University, Qatar University, and the University of Guyana. “You can pick something near and dear to your heart, and the rest will follow. Walden helped me see this through.”

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