Houston University receives $2 mn commitment to support Tamil language, culture

Houston University receives $2 mn commitment to support Tamil language, culture

HOUSTON: The Houston Tamil Studies Chair (HTSC) has made a $2 million pledge to the University of Houston to establish an endowment supporting the study of Tamil heritage.

The HTSC is a non-profit organisation founded 2018 to establish the Tamil studies chair at the Houston University and provide a forum for the growing population of over 250,000 Tamil-Americans in the United States, a release said.

Its mission is to promote the oldest language, Tamil, which is spoken by more than 70 million globally. HTSC founding members Sockalingam Sam Kannappan, Dr S G Appan, Sockalingam Narayanan, Perumal Annamalai, Nagamanickam Ganesan, Tupil V Narasiman and Dr Thiruvengadam Arumugam have been leading community fundraising efforts in the Greater Houston area, Texas and beyond, it said.

“As Tamil-American families assimilate into the fabric of the multi-cultural society in this great nation, and as all our children get educated in American Universities, HTSC takes great pride in leading this initiative to expand awareness of the rich Tamil culture, language and literature within an educational setting,” said Sam Kannappan who is also the board president of HTSC said.

“Through this generous gift, we are able to enrich our academic programmes and introduce our students to Tamil’s special and unique culture,” said Eloise Brice, vice president for University Advancement.

The initial USD 1 million pledge will create HTSC research endowment in the UH College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Funds will support research programme costs, equipment and seminars with invited scholars who are experts on Tamil societies and the Tamil diaspora in the US.

An additional USD 1 million will rename the endowment HTSC Endowed Professorship. The educator who will hold this professorship will be a global research trailblazer with expertise on the rich diversity of Tamil culture and its global diaspora, according to Antonio D Tillis, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

“This gift serves as a new resource for global research opportunities for our faculty and students,” said Tillis. “It affords expanding knowledge on a region that has interdisciplinary academic appeal with local and global contexts.” The gift is part of the ‘Here, We Go’ campaign, the University of Houston’s first major fundraising campaign in more than 25 years.

The University has raised more than USD 1 billion to address key priorities, including scholarships, faculty support and strengthening the university’s partnership with Houston and the momentum continues as UH moves beyond its original billion dollar goal. PTI