Farzaneh family gift continues to strengthen Iranian studies

Winter 2013

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Mohammad, left, and Jalal Farzaneh earned both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees at OU, first in environmental design, then architecture. Today, they are owners of Home Creations, an award-winning building company.

Mohammad, left, and Jalal Farzaneh earned both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees at OU, first in environmental design, then architecture. Today, they are owners of Home Creations, an award-winning building company.

A $1 million gift from the Farzaneh family has established a fund to endow two new faculty positions at the University of Oklahoma: the Farzaneh Family Professor for Iranian Studies in the College of International Studies and the Farzaneh Family Language Instructor for Persian Language in the College of Arts and Sciences. The endowed positions are the latest gifts from a family that has contributed significantly to education and understanding through OU’s Iranian studies program.

“The generous gift from the Farzaneh family allows us to grow our course offerings about Iran and its society, culture and language, and broadens the opportunities for OU students to better understand this important part of the world,” said Suzette Grillot, dean of the College of International Studies.  “These opportunities will undoubtedly place the University of Oklahoma in an excellent position to train and produce the best and brightest scholars of Iran well into the future.”

Brothers Jalal and Mohammad Farzaneh, natives of Iran, received their bachelor’s degrees in environmental design at OU in 1981 and their master’s in architecture in 1984. Their Oklahoma-based building company, Home Creations, has won numerous awards, including the Master Builder Award from Owens Corning and Home Builder of the Year. Home Creations also was nominated for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

The family earlier established a $1 million endowment for the Farzaneh Family Chair in Iranian Studies, held by noted Iranian scholar Afshin Marashi, and the Farzaneh Family Fund for Middle East Studies in International Studies. The gift has helped the College of International Studies develop a lecture series and academic prize that furthers discussion and understanding of Iran. A separate gift to OU’s Religious Studies Program has funded a speaker series on the Islamic faith.