Monday, October 04, 2010

Anand Mahindra gifts US$ 10 million to alma mater Harvard

In what is being billed as the largest grant to the Humanities Center at Harvard University, Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra, is offering his alma mater US$ 10 million for the study of humanities. The grant, in honour of his mother Indira Mahindra, would see the centre being renamed the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard.

According to sources close to the development, the grant has been catalyzed by the 50-year-old bond that the Mahindra family has with Harvard. Anand's father, the late Harish Mahindra, earned a Bachelor's degree at Harvard College in 1946. Anand followed in his footsteps and graduated from Harvard in 1977 with a major in visual and environmental studies. During the'70s, Indian regulations did not permit the provision of foreign exchange for undergraduate studies overseas, and Anand was therefore awarded a full scholarship by Harvard. This is something he has not forgotten.

He then went on to earn an MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1981. Mahindra is reticent in talking about the grant, but is of the view that to address complex problems in an inter-dependent world, it is vital to encourage the cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary 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. I am convinced of the need for incorporating social and humanistic concerns into the core value proposition of business and have sought to do so with tremendous support from my peers and colleagues at work and outside,'' he said.

As Mahindra frequently says, the liberal arts experience was a transformational one for him, and he firmly believes that it provided him with a strong foundation for personal and career growth. He has also never forgotten the university's generosity, and this gift is one way of expressing his gratitude.

The Humanities Center, located at Harvard University, is a site for inter-disciplinary exchanges and is open to the entire academic community and the public, and is a place where discourses on various topics that make up the study of humanities are held.

Source: The Times of India, October 4, 2010
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