Obama at Independence Day celebrations
Obama at Independence Day celebrationsOfficial White House Photo

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella and three other Indian-Americans were among the 40 persons felicitated by the US government at the annual Great Immigrants tribute on the occasion of the country's 238th Independence Day.

The 4th of July event was sponsored in New York by Carnegie Corporation. Besides Nadella, comedian-actor Aasif Mandvi, Carnegie Mellon University president Subra Suresh and former president of the University of West Georgia Beheruz Sethna were honored, along with 36 others for their contribution to the US, stated PTI, quoting a Wall Street Journal report.

Hyderabad-born Nadella grabbed the attention of both Indians and Americans by becoming the head of Microsoft Corp. He has been with the company for 20 years and became the software giant's third CEO in February.

Nadella went to the US for his post graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milqaukee, and did his master's degrees in computer science at the same varsity. He also earned another master's degree in business administration from Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.

Meanwhile, Mandvi first migrated to England from Mumbai and then to the US when he was 16. As a correspondent on "The Daily Show", he became popular with his satires on several issues such as Islam, the Middle East and South Asia.

An engineer and scientist, Suresh was born in Chennai. He went to the US for studies and graduated in 1979. He became the ninth president of Carnegie Mellon University.

Sethna, a graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, has served as the sixth president of the University of West Georgia, the first Indian-American to lead a university in the US.

Obama Recalls Sacrifices for Independence

While commemorating Independence Day at the White House, US President Barack Obama recalled contributions and sacrifices made by individuals throughout the history of the country.

"It was 238 years ago that our founders came together in Philadelphia to launch our American experiment. There were farmers and businessmen, doctors and lawyers, ministers and a kite-flying scientist," a White House communiqué quoted the President.

"Those early patriots may have come from different backgrounds and different walks of life. But they were united by a belief in a simple truth –that we are all created equal; that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights; and that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

"Over the years, that belief has sustained us through war and depression; peace and prosperity. It's helped us build the strongest democracy, the greatest middle class, and the most powerful military the world has ever known," the President added.

Obama further stated that generations of Americans "marched, organized, petitioned, fought and even died" to extend those rights to others, to widen the circle of opportunity and "to perfect this union we love so much".