The Mid 1980’s
The inspiration for the idea of a Hindu University in America emerged from Swami Tilak, in the early to mid-1980s. Swami Tilak did not live long enough to see his dream come true, and passed away at a relatively young age, in a car accident in Spain in the year 1984.
“Multitude of serious and sincere seekers of truth are knocking at our doors. We cannot disappoint them keeping our doors closed. We will have to open our doors and accord a hearty welcome”
– Swami Tilak (1929 – 1984)
1989 – The Beginning
Five years after the passing away of Swami Tilak, a group of four decide to make a beginning to start the University, by registering an entity in the City of Orlando, Florida in the year 1989 as a 501c3 Non-Profit corporation. They were:
- Dr. Deen Dayal Khandelwal from Orlando, Florida
- Shri Abhinav Dwivedi from Orlando, Florida
- Dr. Mahesh Mehta from Boston, Massachusetts
- Dr. Ram Prakash Agarwal from Miami, Florida
1993 – State Authorization
Another four years go by before they secure the authorization from the State of Florida to begin operations as a legitimate University. In 1993, Hindu University of America receives its authorization to function as a Religious Institution, that is exempted from Governmental oversight, through a
letter of exemption issued annually by the Commission for Independent Education (CIE), Florida Department of Education.
Dr. Deen Dayal Khandelwal becomes the first President of the University while Shri Abhinav Dwivedi functions as its Secretary and Treasurer and takes a leadership role. In the initial days, the University functions primarily by organizing events and seminars, and there are no formal classes being offered for quite a while.
2001 – The emergence of a Campus
In 2001 that the University acquires a 9-acre, campus in Orlando, Florida, thanks to the generosity of Shri Braham Ratan Agarwal, who becomes the university’s principal benefactor for the foreseeable future. In 2002, Edith and Robert Grimm donate an additional 2.5 acres of land. The University begins to offer regular classes and launches several programs of study.
2003 – The Presidency of Kuldip C. Gupta
Kuldip C. Gupta, a distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado, decides to leave his academic career and joins Hindu University of America as its new President in the year 2003. He quickly became the backbone of the University and provides stability and direction to the fledgling institution in its formative years. The University begins to see steady growth in Faculty and Student population, during his time.
Unexpectedly, Professor Kuldip C. Gupta, also passes away in 2007, from a heart attack while traveling in Bombay, India at the young age of 66.
2007 – 2018 – Years of struggle
Several efforts are made to identify the right leadership for the University. For several reasons, the right configuration of leadership, financial resources, and strategy do not emerge for a long time. Swami Dayananda Saraswati, founder of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam and the Convener of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha expresses a keen desire to rejuvenate the institution.
“The systematic study of the timeless wisdom in Hindu Dharma’s core texts, in a formal academic setting is vitally important. The promotion of the authentic interpretation of the texts is critical for ensuring that misrepresentations and erroneous understanding do not become authoritative… I consider this to be vitally important not only for the sustenance of our own traditional wisdom and knowledge but also for the future well-being of humanity itself.
Let’s make it (Hindu University of America) an authentic and authoritative institution for the transmission of our culture, our Dharma and our Shastras. We (Hindus) need an academic institution of higher learning, that is modeled according to Nalanda and Takhashila Universities, to help promote authentic interpretations and understanding of our Shastras and Sanatana Dharma.”
Swami Dayananda Saraswati, (1930-2015), Founder, Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha
2018 – The Rejuvenation Strategy
In 2018, that a coherent strategy for the rejuvenation and revitalization of the Hindu University of America begins to take a new shape.
This effort is spearheaded by Dharma Civilization Foundation, a Los Angeles based Non-Profit Foundation, that has been keenly interested in the promotion of the Study of Hinduism in formal University settings.