back                   Distinguished Cornell '79 Classmates Honored at the 40th Reunion                    next

Sunita Gupta Leeds

A proud Cornellian, Sunita is a political and philanthropic advocate for diversity and opportunity for all.

Sunita opened the Democratic Convention in Denver in 2008, becoming the first Indian-American woman to address a major US political party’s convention. As a leader of the Indian American political community, during the 19 years she has lived in Washington, DC, she helped increase the number of Indian Americans in Congress from 0 to 5 and Asian Americans, overall, from 7 to 17. As a member of the Jewish Community, she was on the National Jewish Democratic Council Executive Committee and in 2014 was honored by Jewish Women International as one of “10 Women to Watch”. A fierce advocate for women’s reproductive rights, Sunita is very active with Planned Parenthood, co-chaired their Leadership Council and was on the Planned Parenthood Action Fund Board and the board of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington.

She co-chairs the Enfranchisement Foundation, which focuses on breaking the cycles of poverty and intolerance and on women’s issues. She serves on the governing boards of the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, the Democracy Alliance, and the National Public Education Action Fund.

She has helped elect many progressive leaders.  Until 2017, Sunita served as an at-large member and on the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). She was Advisory Chair of the DNC Indo-American Leadership Council and Co-Chair of the Rules Committee at the 2008 Convention.

Sunita earned her BA from Cornell in math, where she met her husband Dan. During her decade-long career at Bell Labs, she earned a MS in computer science from the University of Southern California and helped to lead key projects.

She lived with her family in Paris, France, for eight years. There she was president of the PTA at Marymount School and founding member and treasurer of Kehilat Gesher, the Anglo-French Jewish Congregation.

The Leeds have four children and a grandchild; two are Cornell graduates.