CELEBRATION OF SHRIMAD RAJCHANDRA ENDOWED CHAIR IN JAIN STUDIES AT UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, RIVERSIDE
Jain Chair at UC Riverside is the fastest Chair that Jain Community has orchestrated in Southern California from
thought to actual hiring of the Chair!
The University celebrated the inauguration of first Chair “Shrimad Rajchandra Endowed Chair in Jain Studies” at the University of
California, Riverside, (UCR) California, USA on October 23, 2019. Associate Professor Mrs. Ana Bajzelj is the incumbent occupant of
the chair. Around 75 people gathered at UCR for the event.
The event began with Navkar Mantra prayer by two Samnijis from Florida. Senior Director of Development Emily. The event began with
Navkar Mantra prayer by two Samnijis from Florida. Senior Director of Development Emily Rankin then invited Dr. Sulekh Jain, from
Houston, for the occasion to give a history of Jain Academic education in North America and how did Jain Chair at UCR happen. He
mentioned that Dr. Harvinder Sahota and Dr. Pashuara Singh who is the Chair of Religious Studies at UCR encouraged him to discuss
with the Dean Milagrosa Pena of School of Humanities, Arts and Social Science about Jain Chair. Dean Pena, Emily Rankin, and others
visited Jain Center of Southern California (JCSC) and met with the Jain community. Seeds were planted then for further discussions.
Two donor families Mr. Mahesh & Usha Wadher and Drs. Jasvant and Meera Modi took the pledge to raise $ 1 Million required to establish
the Chair. Mr. Vijay and Madhu Chheda, Mr. Dilip and Sushama Parekh and others have also contributed. JCSC, Shrimad Rajchandra Mission
Dharampur and Jain Temple of Los Angeles were involved in helping gather necessary funds.
Later, JAINA President, Mr. Mahesh Wadher, spoke on behalf of donors and gave the significance of Jain chair in spreading Jain
principles. He also gave a brief about who was Shirmad Rajchandra and how he was one of the people who influenced Mahatma Gandhi
about the Non-Violence movement. He also appreciated the blessings of Gurudevshri Rakeshbhai who inspired his family with Shrimad
Rajchadra’s Jain teachings. He was very appreciative of UCR for their enthusiasm for creating a Jain Chair. He believed that Jain
teachings are very important in present-day and age to curb violence in the world!
Chair Ana Bajzelj spoke and gave progress made after she started at UCR and presented the first Shrimad Rajchandra award following
a competition on Rajchandraji’s teachings/life. Chancellor Wilcox spoke about the importance of diversity in the university and how
critical it is to be able to offer different religious perspectives to students. JAINA presented a plaque to UC Riverside recognizing
their generosity that was accepted by Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox.
The event ended with a dinner catered by Jaybharat restaurant with Jain Vegan food. Jain community is thrilled and looking forward to
great progress in Jain teachings to mainstream American students with the help of Shrimad Rajchandra Endowed Chair Ana Bajzelj.