The Chair in Tamil Studies endowment was raised as a joint effort of the Center for South Asia Studies at U.C. Berkeley and the San Francisco Bay Area Fundraising Committee for the Chair in Tamil Studies.
Starting from a base of Bay Area Tamil Americans committed to the support of teaching and research in and on Tamil language and literature, the fundraising campaign for a Chair in Tamil Studies at Berkeley eventually reached friends of Tamil throughout North America.
Fundraising events were held in Southern California, Hartford, Chicago, Tulsa, Toledo, and Toronto, in addition to Northern California – often with Berkeley’s Professor of Tamil, George Hart, invited as the guest speaker. The campaign was given a major push at the Tamilnadu Foundation/Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America Annual Meeting held in Chicago in 1994 when midwest businessman Ram Thukkaram announced a one-to-one matching gift against all future contributions to help the Berkeley campaign reach its $400,000 goal. At the 1995 Annual Meeting in Toledo, Mr. Thukkaram presented his matching check, pushing us to our goal.
The Center wants to recognize the dozens of volunteers and the more than 460 individual and family donors, many of whom made multiple donations, who helped us realize the endowed Chair in Tamil Studies . Donors showed that interest in Berkeley’s programs is not at all limited to our geographical area. While 42% of the contributions were from Northern California – 5% came from Southern California; the Northeast, 9%; the Midwest, 37%; the South, 6%; and Canada, 1%.
For more on the future of Tamil studies at Berkeley, see the Tamil Program.