The gift will establish the Mohini Jain Presidential Chair for Jain Studies and further position the university as a leader in the field of Indian religions and South Asia studies. To be awarded to a scholar with a well-established record for creative, exceptional, and interdisciplinary research on Jainism, the chair holder will help develop a curriculum in Jain studies, teach graduate-level courses in Jainism, conduct research, and give public lectures.
Mohini Jain was a research scientist at UC Davis in the 1980s and then served as a high school science teacher for nineteen years, before retiring in 2008. In 1988, she made her first gift in honor of her late husband, Anil K. Jain, a former UC Davis electrical and computer engineering faculty member. Subsequently, the Mohini Jain Family Foundation established an endowment at the UC Davis School of Education to provide annual support for doctoral students whose research has the potential to improve public education.
“This gift will further diversify and strengthen our expertise in world religions and is another step toward UC Davis serving as a leader in Indian religions and Asia studies globally,” said Archana Venkatesan, chair of the UC Davis religious studies department and associate professor of religious studies and comparative literature. "Mohini's commitment to this inclusive and important work grew out of a robust conversation my colleagues and I have been having with the community about the complex nature of religions and philosophies in India and the need to make a space for honest conversation and broadening of minds and acceptance."