Gift from Narinder Kapany will establish Sikh book collection and study room at McHenry Library

Narinder Kapany
Narinder Kapany (Photo by r.r. jones)

UC Santa Cruz has received a gift from Dr. Narinder Kapany to establish the Sundar Singh Kapany Book Collection and the Sundar Singh Kapany Group Study Room in the University Library.

The gift, including Kapany’s personal collection of Sikh books, is valued at $55,000.

"It provides a large set of books on Sikhs and Sikhism that will be a significant new local resource for students, faculty, and community members who are interested in various aspects of UCSC's Sikh and Punjabi Studies program," noted Nirvikar Singh, distinguished professor of economics and the Sarbjit Singh Aurora Chair in Sikh and Punjabi Studies at UC Santa Cruz.

Kapany, the founding chairman of the Sikh Foundation and a trustee of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation, was also a Regents Professor at UC Santa Cruz from 1977 to 1983. In 1999, he endowed the Narinder Singh Kapany Chair in Optoelectronics at the Baskin School of Engineering.

In 2008, Kapany was honored with the UC Santa Cruz Foundation’s Fiat Lux Award in recognition of his outstanding achievement, dedication, and service in support of the university’s program and goals.

A pioneering fiber-optics researcher and entrepreneur, he also made a gift of $500,000 to UC Santa Cruz in 2012 to establish an endowed chair in entrepreneurship.

The Sikh and Punjabi Studies program at UC Santa Cruz began in 2011, following a gift from Hardit and Harbhajan K. Singh, through the Sikh Foundation, to fund an endowed chair. The goal of the program is to advance teaching and research that increases understanding of Sikh and Punjabi culture with a global perspective.

Based in the Humanities Division, the Sikh and Punjabi Studies program brings together faculty across the humanities and beyond, including the fields of history, literature, art, music, and economics. 

There are approximately 25 million Sikhs in the world today, with significant communities living in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, Fiji, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom.

The ancestral home of the Sikhs is the Punjab region, divided between Pakistan and northern India. Sikhs arrived in California more than a century ago, and their descendants today are employed in activities ranging from high-tech entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley to farming in the Central Valley.

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