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Source: University of Alberta

New chair will focus on Indian culture-history

October 27, 2006

The creation of a new Chair in Classical Indian Polity and Society, focusing on the period from 500 BCE to 500 CE, will significantly enhance the University's ability to offer courses on one of the great civilizations of the world to its students.

The new chair in the Department of History and Classics is being made possible by a visionary gift of $1.5 million from Saroj and Prem Singhmar of Sherwood Park, Alberta, and their son, Gaurav Singhmar.

"This distinguished academic chair will enable us to increase significantly our instruction in Indian history, societies, cultures, religions and languages," Faculty of Arts Dean Daniel Woolf says. "We are known for our commitment to providing our students with an understanding of global cultures. This is the first step towards the development of a more comprehensive study of India in particular and South Asia in general at the U of A."

The Saroj and Prem Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Polity and Society will be the first chair at a Canadian university devoted to the study of ancient India. Beginning in the 2007 academic year, it will bring to the University of Alberta a new focus on the history, ideas and practices of ancient India and will provide faculty and students with vastly increased understanding of this important period and its people. An international search is now underway for the first holder of the new endowed chair.

President Indira Samarasekera said the Singhmars' generosity enables the University to accomplish three things: "First, it enables us to attract and recruit an outstanding academic to our community. Second, it allows us to enhance the University of Alberta's global perspective and intercultural climate, increasing our strength as an international university. And third, in the longer term it helps us develop an endowment comparable to the best public research universities in the world."

Prem Singhmar moved to Canada from India in 1985 and has become one of the most successful developers in Sherwood Park and Fort Saskatchewan. He owns several businesses, including the Best Western Hotel in Sherwood Park, and has recently begun work on major development projects in the Edmonton area.

Prem and Saroj Singhmar have generously supported various initiatives and organizations over the years, including the Heritage Days Festival, Kids Kottage Foundation and the Wild Rose Volunteer Wall of Fame.

The Faculty will celebrate the Singhmars' gift with a reception in the Timms Centre Lobby on Thursday, October 26, 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

For more information please contact:

Carmen Rojas
Communications Associate, Faculty of Arts

File #45
October 26, 2006



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