Thanks to matching gifts, an initial $1.25 million donation was multiplied to $5 million in total, and is expected to give Stony Brook University the resources to increase its Center for India Studies, initially founded just 16 years ago.
Dr. Nirmal Mattoo, the chairman of the school's Center for India Studies Executive Committee, gifted $1.25 million, which was later matched by an endowment from other members of the Indian-American community. And as hedge fund manager Jim Simons has offered to match up to $50 million in donations, the $2.5 million donation between Mattoo and others was doubled to a total of $5 million.
“Through the generous contributions of Dr. Mattoo and other donors, The Center for India Studies will continue to be a treasury of human achievement—the intellectual heritage and history of a whole subcontinent—at Stony Brook University,” said Dennis N. Assanis, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at SBU.
With the funding, the school will establish the Nirmal and Augustina Mattoo Chair in Classical Indic Humanities, a "distinguished world authority on India" which will focus on everything from Indian contributions in art to linguistics to religion, medicine and more. Other positions such as postdoctoral fellows, research assistants and professors will be funded, while the school will have the ability to hold lectures focusing on Indian affairs, expand its catalogue of reference material and fund more courses to offer students. The Center for India Studies will also be renamed in memory of Nirmal's parents, Bishembarnath Mattoo and Sheela Mattoo.
The gifts "will help Stony Brook attract outstanding scholars and talented students who recognize the significant role that India has played from ancient times in developing knowledge systems in a wide range of disciplines and its contemporary role as a major player in an increasingly interdependent global economy and world," said SBU President Samuel Stanley.
The center originated in 1997 after the school started offering two courses in Indian studies in 1995, taught by Professors S.N. Sridhar and Kamal K. Sridhar.
Mattoo, born and educated in India, moved to New York to start one of the city's largest nephrology practices and later went on to co-found New York State's largest private dialysis provider. He has served as chairman of the board of the Association of Indians in America and has been featured in a PBS documentary 'Asian Indians in America' for his knowledge on the topic.