Robin Conne | UAH
Dr. Amit Arora, along with his brothers Vivek and Rahul Arora, have made a gift of $105,000 to The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), apart from The University of Alabama System, to honor their father’s 80th birthday, while at the same time giving back to the Huntsville community Dr. Arora and his family have come to know and love.
This commitment to UAH’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHS) will fund a program to be known as the Dr. Mulk R. Arora Endowed Lecture in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. The gift will support a yearly campus-wide lectureship aimed at building community engagement, promoting meaningful scholarship and inspiring global connections beyond the United States.
“Our faculty, staff, and students are grateful for the opportunities made possible by the Dr. Mulk R. Arora Endowed Lecture in Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences,” says CAHS Dean Dr. Sean Lane. “This unique lecture series will allow us to bring noted South Asian artists and scholars to UAH and create events that will inspire people to learn about and appreciate South Asian culture. The series will allow our students to have a rare opportunity to meet and interact with top intellectuals in their fields, our faculty to pursue fruitful collaborations and the College to expand our efforts to engage more deeply with the community.”
Income from the endowment will be used to provide honoraria, publicity and other expenses associated with bringing in a speaker from another institution or organization to present a lecture or a series of lectures on the UAH campus. These lectures may cover any topic of interest and will comprise an interdisciplinary platform that touches upon any discipline within the College by exploring issues related in particular to South Asia, preferably from an Asian Indian perspective.
“Growing up, our parents always spent time helping and mentoring young graduate students,” Dr. Arora notes. “Higher education was a core component of our family’s experience. UAH is intertwined with the greater Huntsville community, and this lectureship will allow the next generation of UAH students and visitors to learn something new, or experience something different.”
Dr. Arora and his spouse, Dr. Aruna Arora, are both local neurologists, and decided to fund the lectureship along with Dr. Arora’s brothers as a way to honor family patriarch, Dr. Mulk R. Arora.
“Our father was born in 1942, before India gained its independence from Britain,” explains Dr. Amit Arora. “His family of him lost almost everything during this period. He was always a good student as a child and graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, one of the premier engineering schools in the country. He met our mother, Anjana, while he pursued his Ph.D. at McMaster University in Canada before moving to the US in the early 1970s.”
The presentation was made on the steps of the newly renovated Morton Hall on the UAH campus in order to highlight the importance of the humanities in education. Dr. Arora’s brothers and their families were present as well.
“While his degrees were in science and engineering, his love of the humanities was palpable to all of us,” Rahul Amora says. “My brothers and I were constantly advised when growing up to dig deeper in history, philosophy and the arts. It was part of his hope that we would become more multidimensional. As a father, he has given us a model of life-long learning in the pursuit of trying to live a better life. He has often said that the study of the humanities helps each student become a better human being. As sons, we hope our families and children will appreciate this philosophy.”
The lecture series will enable the CAHS to bring noted South Asian artists and scholars to UAH and Huntsville, creating events that will inspire attendees to learn about and appreciate South Asian culture.
“Each of the disciplines represented in our College examines the human condition, although in different and complementary ways,” Dr. Lane notes. “These disciplines call upon us to challenge our pre-existing views of the world, and invite us to change that world in creative and meaningful ways. As Mahatma Gandhi once wrote, ‘Persistent questioning and healthy inquisitiveness are the first requisite for acquiring learning of any kind.’ We appreciate the trust the Arora family has placed in us, and our faculty and students are ready to create an unforgettable series that does justice to the generosity and life of Dr. Mulk Arora.”
“Our father’s passion for philosophy, history and other humanities played a significant role in what I studied in college and graduate school and what’s important to me today,” says Vivek Arora. “I am excited for the opportunity for UAH to honor his legacy and hopefully this lecture series can impact the UAH students and community in a similar manner.Growing up, our parents emphasized the importance of understanding history and different cultures.Given the importance of diversity and inclusion in society, this lecture series will foster a deeper understanding of South Asian history and culture for UAH students and the broader community.”
Born in Montreal, Canada, Dr. Amit Arora has found a home in the southeastern US “My wife, Aruna, grew up in Huntsville, and my parents moved here when I was in college,” he says. “We both spent several years in Birmingham for medical school and neurology training and had a chance to see Huntsville continue to grow as a city. We are so lucky to be in Huntsville – it’s a wonderful city to raise a family and we couldn’t have been happier with our decision.”
To be able to give back to his community in this way while honoring his father has meant a great deal to him personally.
“Our father has always been a kind, thoughtful man,” Dr. Arora says. “He has very little interest in any material gifts. Vivek, Rahul and I thought about ways we could honor him in a way he could enjoy. He was so happy when he found out and was grateful to the University. Our family left very impressed after our tour of UAH. President Karr, Dean Lane, Mallie Hale and the rest of the faculty and staff were such gracious hosts. We will do our best to attend the yearly lecture and hope to come to more community events offered at UAH. It is definitely a way for the next generation to stay involved.”