Philanthropy and teaching; the art of giving

“This has given me such a sense of fulfillment,” said math professor Raj Seekri on donating $30,000 to the Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf in Big Springs.

Richland’s women’s basketball team will host the SW Institute at 5 p.m. on Nov. 30, where Seekri will be honored for his philanthropy. Seekri is now marching toward his 81st year and has dedicated much of his life to helping the common man. He and his wife have spent their recent years to donating funds and scholarships to various colleges.

“I grew up in Punjab, India. My father influenced me the most in my life,” he said.

The son of a school teacher, Seekri admired his father’s love of teaching, especially underprivileged children.

“He gave his life to reform and education. People in my village didn’t want to send their daughters to school. They said they belonged at home. He spoke out for them and did what he could to get them an education,” said Seekri.

He knew teaching was obviously not a career that paid much money and so he set his eyes on medical school. When his father couldn’t muster the funds to send him, he chose to move to America with his wife in 1964.

“I couldn’t even afford my airplane ticket to London. We had to ask a friend for a loan and pay him back after finding work in America,” said Seekri

Seekri took full advantage of the opportunities in America and began working full time in the corporate sector.

He spent over 30 years as a corporate manager for National Cash Register (NCR) and then Texas Instruments. He did very well for himself but still made time to teach different types of math classes at Eastfield College, University of Texas at Dallas and Richland over the years.

“I’m not here to get my paycheck, I’m here to get my passion” said Seekri while throwing both hands in the air

On his 58 years of marriage he said, “I can give all praise to God. It is my biggest blessing. ”

He and his wife pursued charity as a hobby when they sent their two kids to medical school. They also enjoy spoiling their six grandchildren.

Earlier this year, Richland coaching instructor Phil Key mentioned to Seekri that the SW Institute lacked funding for athletic equipment.

“They didn’t even have a scoreboard in their gym,” Seekri said. He felt a moral urge to help the dispossessed and less fortunate.

Originally, Seekri felt awkward and shy about being publicly recognized for his charitable work but he said, “I hope this story inspires others who are successful in their own lives to give back.”

Seekri continues to work as a full time instructor in mathematics at Richland. He is looking forward to seeing the basketball game on Nov. 30.