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(Boston) — Rajen Kilachand, a Dubai-based global entrepreneur, has pledged $25 million to Boston University, announced BU President Robert A. Brown. Kilachand’s contribution, the largest in school history, will support and rename the University’s Honors College in honor of his parents, whose full name will become the Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Honors College.
Kilachand, who earned an MBA from the Boston University Graduate School of Management in 1974 and is a member of BU’s Board of Trustees, is chair and president of the Dodsal Group, a multinational conglomerate that holds interests in engineering, mining, trading, and hospitality businesses.
“Rajen Kilachand is a person of extraordinary foresight and rare generosity. I am deeply grateful for his vision and his commitment to our Honors College, which serves our highest achieving students,” said Brown. “His magnificent gift will create an endowment for the Kilachand Honors College that will increase the quality of this innovative program and the range of opportunities it offers for all future generations of Boston University students. Equally as important as his gift, is his insightful understanding of the enduring importance of undergraduate education, both to him and to the University.”
“In this age of professional specialization, academic interest in the humanities is waning,” said Kilachand. “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.”
Led by Charles Dellheim, also a professor of history in the College of Arts & Sciences, the Honors College offers students the opportunity at an interdisciplinary perspective in the liberal arts while maintaining focus on one of BU’s 16 existing schools and colleges. The curriculum brings together students in all existing liberal arts and professional programs, allowing them to work on interdisciplinary, collaborative research.”
“Rajen’s appreciation of the college’s mission makes him the perfect donor,” said Dellheim. “He once said that when he started in business, he had no idea that he would have to be a bit of an engineer and a bit of an anthropologist and a bit of a political scientist and a bit of a psychologist, but that is what he had to be. And here at the Honors College, what we do is try to prepare students for the very complex world they will be entering by exposing them to the same diverse branches of knowledge.”
A longtime philanthropist, Kilachand serves on the board of Pathfinder International, a global nonprofit that focuses on reproductive health, family planning, and HIV/AIDS prevention and care. He also supports Dubai Cares, an initiative of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates. The only foreign sponsor of the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Kilachand has made a personal commitment of more than $50 million to philanthropic initiatives in health care and vocational training and education, including building libraries and teacher training institutions.
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 16 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.