The Centre for India Studies at Stony Brook University here has established a permanent USD five million endowment, the largest gift ever made for India studies to a US public varsity.
The endowment consists of a USD 1.25 million donation from the chairman of the India Studies Executive Committee, Nirmal Mattoo and his wife Augustina Mattoo to establish the Nirmal and Augustina Mattoo Chair in Classical India Humanities, together with a USD 1.25 million donation to the Centre from the Indian American community for the Centre.
These donations will be matched, dollar to dollar, with another USD 2.5 million grant, bringing the total endowment to five million dollars, making it the largest gift ever made for India Studies to a US public university, the University said in a statement.
In recognition of Mattoo's leadership role, the Centre will be renamed the Bishembarnath Mattoo and Sheela Mattoo Center for India Studies, in memory of his parents.
"India has been depicted as an exotic curiosity or with a rosy tint of romanticism. Its significant contributions to so many fields and its core values need to be researched and taught in an academically sound and culturally authentic paradigm and the endowed Chair, the highest prize a university can offer to faculty, would help attract a world class academic to lead this project," Mattoo said.
Chairman of leading hedge fund Renaissance Technologies James Simons and head of the Simons Fund, which made a USD 2.5 million grant to the Centre said one advice he has for Indians in America is to "stay here".
The Centre, established in 1997, is a leading academic institution that supports the teaching of numerous courses on India, regularly sponsors leading intellectuals and artists in its distinguished lecture series, conducts an extensive India Outreach programme in the nation for schools, museums, public libraries, interfaith centres and civic groups, runs a India Reference Library and a Study Abroad programme in Bangalore.