Nalanda University, an international centre of learning coming up in Bihar, on Tuesday received a personal endowment of $1 million from an Indian-origin couple to support a Professorial Chair in the School of Historical Studies.
The endowment was made by Rajendra Joshi, who is now a Swiss citizen but who hails from Rajasthan, and his wife Ursula Joshi.
The symbolic cheque was handed over by Ursula Joshi to Nalanda vice chancellor Gopa Sabharwal at a function held on Tuesday at the India International Centre.
Nalanda University has also received endowments from countries like Australia, China, Singapore, Laos and Thailand. It has also received endowments in the form of books from individual donors.
Sabharwal in her remarks said the endowment was valuable for the university in these formative years.
“We are specially thankful that the Joshis despite their background in pharmaceuticals decided to support the School of Historical Studies to acknowledge the importance of this discipline in the present age. At a time when history and indeed the Liberal Arts need a lot of support a gesture like this is immensely valuable.”
Rajendra Joshi founded a pharmaceutical company Fumapharm with other partners in Switzerland and is credited with development of highly effective drugs for the treatment of psoriasis and multiple sclerosis.
Fumapharm was bought over by US-based company Biogen Idec and the drug that Joshi developed, now a very successful medicine globally, is marketed as Tecfidera.
Ursula Joshi said Nalanda University was one of the oldest universities of the world, and the couple wanted to contribute in revival of the prestigious institution particularly by supporting a Professorial Chair in the School of Historical Studies.
Nalanda University based in Rajgir, Bihar was established by an Act of Parliament in 2010 and is designated as an “Institution of National Importance”.
Nalanda is supported by several East Asia Summit countries.
The university admitted its first batch of students in the School of Ecology and Environment Studies and the School of Historical Studies in 2014. It plans to start “The School of Buddhist Studies, Comparative Religion and Philosophy” in 2016.