The library at the Bishembarnath and Sheela Mattoo Center for India Studies at Stony Brook University was dedicated in the name of Drs. Yashpal and Urmilesh Arya, who also donated $250,000 to the Center’s endowment campaign, which has been matched by the Simons Match Fund.
The donation will allow for the expansion of the library’s services and initiatives, including special collections and online courses, to make the library’s resources more widely available.
The dedication ceremony drew a large gathering of Stony Brook faculty, staff, students and administrators, and members of the Indian American community.
The couple described the library’s dedication as “one of the happiest days of our lives.”
“I am proud to stand here today to continue this family tradition of perpetuating further education with the help of Stony Brook University through its forward thinking, visionary policy making, and the Mattoo Center for India Studies for its strong resolve and relentless pursuit that led to the creation of this library,” said Dr. Yashpal, whose family has a history of philanthropy in both India and the United States.
He also thanked the Stony Brook administration for their “enlightened support” for the Center as well as Professors S.N. and Kamal K. Sridhar, whom he described as the Center’s grandparents, “you make your living by earning. You make your life by giving.”
Dr. Nirmal K. Mattoo, Chair of the Center’s executive committee, praised the Aryas for their involvement “in philanthropy on a large scale,” noting their long-time “commitment to the Center’s vision.”
Dean Sacha Kopp dedicated the library and thanked the attendees for their “participation in the decades-long effort to create the Center for India Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.”
“A public university has the responsibility not only to serve the public through education but to give back to the public in the form of knowledge and sharing and fostering community and culture,” Dean Kopp explained adding that a library is a “gathering of community” and the “lifeblood” of a campus. “As I reflect on ‘community,’ I see it here today.”
According to Professor S.N. Sridhar, founding Director of the Mattoo Center, the library features a collection of more than 13,000 works, including major reference works, such as the Critical Edition of the Mahabharata and the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, and special collections on Indian languages donated by noted research scholars.
The library’s resources are used by Stony Brook students, faculty, and visiting scholars and researchers from around the world.
The Mattoo Center is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a Gala on October 29th at Leonard’s in Great Neck.