The immense academic experience that students interested in the wider world receive at the University of Oklahoma is set to get even more in depth as OU recently announced that it has plans on adding a Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies. Thanks in part to a $4 million donation by the Farzaneh Family Foundation, future Sooners will have an opportunity to develop a better cultural understanding, appreciation and awareness of the United States and its relations with Iran and the Middle East.
The gift is the largest of its kind in the university’s history from former students who came to OU from international destinations. Brothers Jalal and Mohammad Farzaneh are both graduates of OU, holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Norman-based institution. They own one of Oklahoma’s most well known home construction companies, Home Creations. They came to Oklahoma in 1978 from Iran.
According to the report in the Oklahoman newspaper, “The gift will help fund scholarships for Iranian students and for students studying Persian language, three endowed professorships, an endowed lectureship, and a prize for Iranian Literature. The gift also will establish a Persian artwork fund and an endowed Persian book collection.”
This isn’t the first time the Farzanehs have supported higher education in Oklahoma. In February 2015, they made a gift of $1.6 million to Oklahoma State University which will support a faculty chair and four professorships in Iranian and Persian Gulf studies. According to OSU, the total impact will be more than $6 million after adding the matching funds from Boone Pickens and the Oklahoma Legislature.