Boston University received a pledge for $25 million, the largest gift in its 172-year history, from Rajen Kilachand, an investor in mining, construction and fast-food restaurants.
The gift will create an endowment for the university’s honors college, which will be renamed for Kilachand’s parents, Boston University said today in an e-mailed statement. The honors college is a selective liberal arts program for undergraduates.
Kilachand, a Boston University trustee, graduated from its business school in 1974. He is chairman of Dodsal Group, founded in Mumbai in 1948 and now based in Dubai. The company’s businesses include Tanzanian gold mines, power-plant construction and Pizza Hut and KFC franchises.
“In this age of professional specialization, academic interest in the humanities is waning,” Kilachand said in the statement. “People don’t want to go into liberal arts, but I think for people to be future leaders you need a focused approach to humanities, the fine arts, so that you have a well-rounded personality.”
Boston University, a private institution, was founded in 1839. It has about 33,500 students in 16 colleges and schools, according to the school’s website. Former students include Martin Luther King Jr., who received his Ph.D. in 1955; actress Faye Dunaway and Mickey Drexler, chief executive officer of J. Crew Group Inc.