Boston University President Robert Brown announced on Thursday that Trustee Rajen Kilachand endowed the University Honors College with $25 million, the largest donation in school history.
The announcement was part of the University Honors College Symposium , which was held at the School of Management and featured short presentations from four KHC professors, as well as remarks from the KHC founding director, Charles Dellheim.
“This is a landmark day for the Honors College and for Boston University,” Brown said in his opening remarks. “Through the vision and support of Rajen and the creativity and energy of our faculty, the Kilachand Honors College is positioned to educate the best of future generations of Boston University students.”
Kilachand, SMG ‘74, requested that the College be named after his parents, Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand.
“In this age of professional specialization, academic interest in the humanities is waning,” Kilachand said in a Sept. 22 press release . “People don’t want to go into liberal arts, but I think for people to be future leaders you need a focused approach to humanities, the fine arts, so that you have a well-rounded personality. Now, I’m ready to do my little bit.”
The first of the presenters, Thomas Bifano, the director of the Photonics Center, spoke about his work sharpening telescopic and microscopic images through deformable mirrors, a subject which a freshman KHC class is currently studying.
Andrew Bacevich, a professor of international relations and history, explained his KHC class, which focuses on the “revision” of the historical narrative of the 20th century.
Muhammad Zaman, the director of the Lab for Engineering Education and Development, explored the role of engineering in global development.
Rosanna Warren, a professor of English, commented on the power of imagination and poetry.
“After today I am convinced more than ever that you cannot have a better preparation for what faces you than Boston University,” Kilachand said in his concluding remarks.
“This will give resources to Charles Dellheim and to the faculty and the students that they will decide over time how to use to best enhance the program as the endowment builds and makes returns going forward,” Brown said in an interview after the symposium.
Amanda Scobie, the KHC program administrator, said she is excited to see a new chapter unfold for the Honors College.
“I’m thrilled that my students have such an amazing opportunity from such an amazing donor,” Scobie said.
KHC students said the announcement was unexpected and that they enjoyed the professors’ presentations.
“It’s great to be part of something new and innovative like the Honors College, but it’s even better to receive the recognition and support Mr. Kilachand’s announcement brings,” said College of Engineering and KHC sophomore Connor McEwen , the president of the KHC student government.
“I thought it was an incredibly generous donation and will give the UHC – excuse me the KHC – the funding and institutional backing that it needs to challenge the normal education methods of a four-year university,” said College of Arts and Sciences and KHC sophomore Will Carbery .
“It’s a large step forward for a more progressive education system,” said Jesse Goldshear , also a KHC and CAS sophomore. “It’s incredible that a graduate was willing to give that large a sum of money to a relatively new program.”