The first major philanthropic gift by an individual, private family establishing a perpetual bursary has been received by the University of Guyana (UG).
According to a release from UG’s Office of Philanthropy, Alumni and Civic Engagement (PACE), the gift of land and property in Berbice was bestowed to them by Mrs Rajdai Elizabeth Outar, now of Scottsdale Arizona, who was born and grew up in Guyana.
The gifted property is expected to be developed or liquidated and funds invested within 2 years of the passing of the property to the University.
Thereafter, according to PACE, up to 30 per cent of the monies will be used in perpetuity to fund on an annual basis the Rajdai Elizabeth and Seobarran James Outar Bursary.
The Rajdai Elizabeth and Seobarran James Outar Bursary is aimed at supporting tuition, living expenses and books for outstanding students from Berbice, Port Mourant, and other areas who prove to be unable to afford the cost of their education at the University of Guyana in any discipline.
Growing up in Berbice and Port Mourant, Rajdai Elizabeth Outar and her late husband, Seobarran James Outar, respectively, placed a great value on education, especially for their four children and grandchildren. Following the advice of Mr. Outar’s father who said “If there is one thing you could do for your children, it is to educate them. No one can ever take that away from them,” the Outars left Guyana in the late 1970s for educational opportunities in the United States.
They never forgot where they got their start and looked for opportunities to give back to their home. With Mr Outar’s untimely passing in June 2014, Mrs Outar decided to gift a parcel of land and other remaining assets in Guyana to The University to establish the Rajdai Elizabeth and Seobarran James Outar Bursary.
Speaking from her home in Scottsdale, Arizona, Mrs Outar said “Education is the cornerstone of life and higher education provides an opportunity to create leaders, advance knowledge and to improve society.
“My family and I hope that our gift will not only benefit worthy students but that it also will inspire other expatriate Guyanese to support talent development at a critical time in our nation’s history. We are thankful to Prof. Paloma Mohamed Deputy Vice Chancellor Philanthropy, Alumni and Civic Engagement and others in The University for creating the possibility and process of establishing such a gift.”
According to the UG, Vice Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith has emphasized the need for private support to complement government funding.
He expressed the University’s gratitude to Mrs Outar and family positing that, “Mrs Outar’s gift provides an opportunity for the most talented students to have access to a world-class education regardless of their ability to pay. We hope that her generosity will serve as an example for others to follow. Gifts like Mrs Outar’s have an impact not only on the recipient but also their families, their community, and society at large.”
Deputy Vice Chancellor (PACE) Professor Paloma Mohamed also expressed sincere gratitude to Mrs Outar and her family, and to her son O’Neil Outar, as well as to former DVC Elizabeth Ramlall, Ms Christine Chowgrir and University Registrar Dr Nigel Gravesande who worked for several months with PACE to realize the project.
The Rajdai Elizabeth and Seobarran James Outar Bursary is expected to be administered through the University’s Student Support Fund mechanism recently set up to support students with financial challenges.
Application materials, awards committee composition and the decision rubric for the award of the Rajdai Elizabeth and Seobarran James Outar Bursary also will be available on the University of Guyana’s website once the funds become available.