AUBURN, Ala. - Sanjay Govil's first exposure to Auburn football came as a student when he tutored Steve Wallace, a future three-time Super Bowl winner, in math.
"He was totally focused on his degree at Auburn," Govil says. "He used to come every day to class early in the morning and study, and then leave on crutches. It speaks to the culture, it speaks to the virtues, it speaks to the priorities Auburn has for its student-athletes. Athletics is a means, education is the way."
Thirty years after first working together, Wallace and Govil reunited at the 2015 Iron Bowl.
"During my junior year, I sunk to an all-time low after hearing I needed knee surgery," Wallace remembered. "But there was a young math tutor constantly encouraging me. He often said I would probably have a better future in math than football."
During his NFL career, Wallace returned to Auburn in the offseason, graduating in 1993. "Encouragement is a difference maker," Wallace says.
The son of longtime Auburn University mathematics and statistics professor Narendra Govil, Sanjay graduated from Auburn in electrical engineering before earning advanced degrees from Syracuse and Wharton.
"We're a true Auburn family," Govil says. "We came to America in 1984 and I came to Auburn High School straight from India. So, Auburn is all we knew, and Auburn University has really framed our entire life for me and my family."
With the help of Auburn's placement office, Govil landed his first job at IBM. In 1999, he founded Infinite Computer Solutions, a global technology platform provider that processes more than a trillion messages per year.
"Wherever we are, a big part of that is attributed to the values which we learned at Auburn, and the culture I learned at Auburn," Govil says.
A desire to invest in those values motivates Govil to support Auburn Athletics.
"I really believe that athletics nurtures students in a way where they are taught integrity, they are taught hard work, discipline, and then they also have the virtue of getting a college degree," Govil says. "I think the combination of those things make them better human beings, and I'm really amazed at the discipline which the Auburn program has and the principles by which Coach Malzahn stands."
A proud alumnus, Sanjay Govil's life story, highlighting the value of hard work in a practical world, aligns perfectly with the Auburn Creed.
"My dad, he's achieved great heights at Auburn, and my brother, after graduating from Auburn he went to UAB Medical School and he's a doctor," Govil says. "We are a true Auburn family, a family which came from India with very little resources, if any, and had the American dream with Auburn as the backbone since 1984, which is now 33 years.
"I have nothing but positive things to say about Auburn. I think from Jay Jacobs, his leadership, to Tim Jackson and Gus Malzahn - it's just outstanding. They are all about Auburn, and they are very selfless people because they work really, really hard for Auburn, and they show everybody the utmost respect, which is what I really appreciate."