Rajen Kilachand, a Dubai-based entrepreneur, has pledged $25m to Boston University, the largest gift in its 172-year history.
University president Robert A Brown said Kilachand’s contribution will support and rename the University’s Honours College in honour of his parents.
Kilachand, who earned an MBA from the Boston University Graduate School of Management in 1974 and is a member of its Board of Trustees, is chair and president of the Dodsal Group, a multinational conglomerate that holds interests in engineering, mining, trading, and hospitality businesses.
Brown said: “Rajen Kilachand is a person of extraordinary foresight and rare generosity. I am deeply grateful for his vision and his commitment to our Honours College, which serves our highest achieving students.
“His magnificent gift will create an endowment for the Kilachand Honours College that will increase the quality of this innovative programme and the range of opportunities it offers for all future generations of Boston University students.”
“In this age of professional specialization, academic interest in the humanities is waning,” added 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.”
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 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and vice president and prime minister of the UAE.
The only foreign sponsor of the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Kilachand has made a personal commitment of more than $50m 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 recognised private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programmes.
Former students include Martin Luther King Jr, who received his PhD in 1955; actress Faye Dunaway and Mickey Drexler, chief executive officer of J Crew Group.