UCSC Review Winter 1998
Campus Update: Gift establishes rare chair in India studies
A $250,000 gift to UCSC has established one of the country's few endowed chairs in India studies and is the first step in Chandra and Narpat Bhandari, a vision to establish an international center for the study of Indian civilization and culture.
The gift comes from Narpat and Chandra Bhandari, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who were both born in India. Their gift has established the Chandra Bhandari Endowed Chair in India Studies, named in honor of Chandra Bhandari, an educator with a lifelong interest in the history and culture of India and the precepts and practices of nonviolence. The announcement coincided with Chandra Bhandari's birthday. "I am deeply touched by the love and affection from my husband that this gift represents," she said.
The establishment of the chair came just a month before the 50th anniversary of Indian independence (August 15, 1947). "Fifty years ago, India launched the most ambitious democratic project in world history," said Narpat Bhandari. "I believe it is vital that we devote resources to the study of what is not only the world's largest democracy but also one of the world's oldest and most enduring cultures," added Bhandari, a trustee of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation.
The endowment will fund a spectrum of activities, including distinguished scholars-in-residence, graduate research fellowships, course development, international conferences, the acquisition of resources on India studies for the University Library, and activities of faculty in the field of India studies.
"We are delighted to receive this gift," said Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood. "Narpat and Chandra Bhandari are well respected for their ongoing support of education both regionally and in India, having dedicated personal resources and their talents as educators over the years. Their gift has established an important endowment that will be a catalyst for a myriad of activities not only in the area but across the globe.
In early January Chancellor Greenwood led a delegation of top campus administrators and faculty, who traveled to India at the invitation of the Indian ambassador. The chancellor met with the Indian prime minister, and she and members of the group also met with a number of other key leaders in government, academia, the arts, and business. Campus representatives visited the cities of Calcutta, Bombay, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and New Delhi. Upon her return, Chancellor Greenwood said, "This journey has helped strengthen the ties between our campus and the world's largest democracy. As a result, I expect we will build many new mutually beneficial partnerships in a wide array of disciplines."