The Gift: $715,000
The Cause: Carleton University
The Reason: To finance the Canada-India Centre for Excellence in Science, Technology, Trade and Policy
When Sudhir Handa and his brother, Sushil, finished their university education in India in the 1960s they planned to head to North America. They had opportunities to settle in the United States or Canada and both chose Canada, largely because of an offer from Carleton University.
The university provided Sushil with a scholarship and financial support to pursue a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering. Sudhir came next, completing his qualifications to become a chartered accountant.
“We have a special place in our hearts for Carleton,” said Sudhir, who lives in Toronto and owns a collection of hotels, apartment buildings and a manufacturing plant.
“I accepted Carleton’s offer and that’s how I ended up in Canada,” said Sushil who lives in Montreal. “And I’m glad I did.”
A couple of years ago, Sudhir began thinking about how to bring Canada and India closer together through a centre devoted to education. He was convinced the location of the centre had to be Carleton because of its location in Canada’s capital.
The plan took shape and on Aug. 15 Carleton will officially open the Canada-India Centre for Excellence in Science, Technology, Trade and Policy. Sudhir and his wife, Ruth Harper, have donated $500,000 to get the centre started while Sushil has contributed $100,000. Another supporter, Barj Dhahan from Vancouver, has donated $115,000.
All four also began approaching potential donors from the Indian community across Canada; people from across the country have started contributing with many more gifts to come.
“Education is very important to me,” said Sudhir. “It is because of the education I got in India and Canada that I have been able to make a comfortable living and provide for my family. There comes a time in life when you have to give back to the society which has given you the opportunity to make something out of yourself.”