UC Davis Receives $1.5 Million Gift for Persian Studies

The University of California at Davis has announced a $1.5 million gift from Silicon Valley philanthropist and humanitarian Bita Daryabari to expand its Persian studies program.

The gift, coupled with a $500,000 match from the university's Endowed Faculty Leadership Initiative, will establish the Bita Daryabari Presidential Chair in Persian Language and Literature and help transform UC Davis into a force in teaching, research, and outreach related to Persian language and culture. 

Daryabari, a native of Iran who earned degrees in computer science and telecommunication management from Golden Gate University, founded the Pars Equality Center in 2010 to support the full integration of people of Persian origin in the United States and advocate for their perspectives in American society. Previously, she awarded gifts to establish the Bita Daryabari Endowment in Persian Letters at Stanford University; an endowment for the Shahnama Project at Pembroke College in Cambridge, England; and a visiting lecturer in Iranian and Persian studies in the Middle East/South Asia Studies Program at UC Davis.

"This gift will greatly enrich UC Davis' liberal arts offerings, which are a cornerstone of the education our students receive as they prepare to build their futures and participate in building a better state, nation and world," said UC Davis chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. "Broadening our Persian studies program will allow UC Davis students new opportunities to enrich their multicultural awareness — an essential component of a UC Davis education that is focused on preparing our students to work and live in a modern, multiethnic society."

"UC Davis Receives $1.5 Million From Prominent Iranian-American Philanthropist." University of California at Davis Press Release 09/24/2015.