Alum and trustee Rajen Kilachand gives $115 million for interdisciplinary research
When Rajen Kilachand came to Boston University in September 1971, he was impressed by the quality of US higher education. He was equally impressed, he recalls, by how much that quality appeared to depend on gifts from wealthy donors. “Whether it was the Mellons, the Carnegies, or the Rockefellers, it was giving for education,” says Kilachand (Questrom’74, Hon.’14). “That’s why today the United States is one of the great centers of higher learning. It is second to none in the world.”
Four-and-a-half decades later, with his latest gift to Boston University, a $115 million commitment to research at the intersection of the life sciences and engineering, Kilachand approaches the ranks of those historic architects of higher education. His contribution, the largest in the history of Boston University, directs $15 million to support construction of the new Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering and $100 million to establish an endowment known as the Rajen Kilachand Fund for Integrated Life Sciences and Engineering. That fund will serve as a foundation for BU’s continuing investment in interdisciplinary research that joins the life sciences and engineering, and will support research projects aligned with the grand challenges of life sciences and human health research and its impact on our global society.
This gift from Kilachand, a BU trustee, is not the first incidence of his generosity to the University. In 2011, he pledged $25 million to establish the Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Honors College, which has a current student population of 407. One year later, he increased that commitment by $10 million for a face-lift of Kilachand Hall, the 91 Bay State Road student residence formerly known as Shelton Hall. Those gifts, plus his latest, collectively constitute one of the 50 largest gifts to higher education ever in the United States.
“This magnificent new gift from Rajen Kilachand is the capstone of our efforts to generate philanthropic support for the University,” says BU President Robert A. Brown. “A center like the Kilachand Center and the resources from the fund will have enormous impact, because they fund the very best people, who have the very best ideas and create the very best outcomes. That is what has built the greatness of a lot of the private research universities in the United States. It’s a very strong differentiator. This is the largest gift in our history, and the important thing is that it’s the largest gift to scientific research in our history, by far.”