Indian industrialist Anand Mahindra has given Harvard University $10 million, the largest gift for the study of humanities in its history, at its centre now renamed Mahindra Humanities Centre.
The support is in honour of his mother, Indira Mahindra. It will advance the unique interdisciplinary collaborations led by Centre director, Homi Bhabha, the Ivy League university announced on Monday.
Anand Mahindra is vice chairman and managing director of Mahindra & Mahindra, Ltd., the flagship company of the Mahindra Group, which is among the top 10 industrial houses in India. He came to Harvard as an undergraduate in the film studies programme of the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, graduated magna cum laude, and went on to earn his MBA from Harvard Business School (HBS).
"This remarkable gift is a significant affirmation of the importance of the humanities and the central place of the liberal arts in the University," said Drew Gilpin Faust, president of Harvard University and Lincoln Professor of History.
"It comes at a time when it is vital to bring a humane and critical perspective to the urgent questions that confront the world. Anand Mahindra understands the essential role of the humanities in this work, and I am deeply grateful."
"I am happy to be able to contribute to the cause of the humanities," said Mahindra. "To address complex problems in an interdependent world, it is vital to encourage the cross-cultural and interdisciplinary exchange of ideas in an international setting.
"I am proud to be part of the intellectual legacy of India's contribution to global thinking across the arts, culture, science, and philosophy."
The Mahindra Humanities Centre will advance interdisciplinary exchanges among Harvard faculty, faculty from other area institutions, graduate students, undergraduates, and the public. It will sponsor a wide range of panel discussions, lectures, readings, conferences, performances, workshops, and seminars, as well as graduate and postdoctoral fellowships.
The Centre will foster collaborations among the humanities, social sciences, and sciences in the belief that the humanities make a unique contribution in providing platforms for debate across various fields and forms of knowledge.