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The University announced today that it has received a $10 million gift from industrial magnate Anand G. Mahindra ’77 that will support the Harvard Humanities Center. The gift is the largest in Harvard’s history directed exclusively towards the humanities.
Mahindra’s donation will fund the center’s ongoing programs and the opportunity to expand its reach by strengthening the center’s ties to other cultural institutions, like libraries and museums, and similar organizations across the country, according to English Professor Homi K. Bhabha, director of the center.
“We will be able to think in national and even international terms,” Bhabha said, referring to the possibilities allowed by the donation. “We will be able to use the Humanities Center as a kind of laboratory to think about new ways of teaching and about how the humanities and how culture more generally might be better represented in the well -being of individuals in society.”
The gift will sponsor a variety of lectures, readings, conferences, seminars, and a number of graduate and postdoctoral fellowships, according to a University press release.
“‘New horizons for the humanities’ is our calling for the future at the Humanities Center,” Bhabha said, referring to his role in expanding the humanities at the University.
In honor of the gift, donated in the memory of Mahindra’s mother, the center will be renamed the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard.
The donation coincides with University President Drew G. Faust’s emphasis on the importance of the humanities on campus.
“[The gift] comes at a time when it is vital to bring a humane and critical perspective to the urgent questions that confront the world,” Faust said in a statement.
Faust has charged a faculty working group with examining the role of the humanities in the curriculum and its broader societal role.
Mahindra has deep ties to the University as a graduate of the College and Harvard Business School. He serves on several University advisory bodies, including the Committee on University Resources and the HBS Board of Dean’s Advisors.
While philanthropic giving has decreased as a result of a slow economy, giving to the University has largely held steady, with Harvard fundraisers recently reporting that the University raised $596 million last fiscal year.
—Staff writer Elias J. Groll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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