Over the last several months, Dharma Civilization Foundation has been engaged in performing a comprehensive due diligence on the history and possible future trajectory of the Hindu University of America (HUA), Orlando, Florida.
Hindu University of America was authorized to operate as a Religious University in the State of Florida in the year 1993 and has had a continued unbroken existence for 25 years. During this time, it has awarded about 125 Master’s and Doctoral Degrees as well as several hundred certificates. It has made two efforts to get fully accredited, first by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and second by the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC) and failed to secure accreditation both times. It has undergone many leadership changes during this time and has also struggled financially but it has never lost its status as a legitimate University during that entire time.
Our assessment is that even though HUA has had a difficult history it is possible to develop HUA initially into a premier online university, that serves both the Hindu community world-wide as well as those outside the Hindu fold who might aspire to acquire authentic knowledge from the rich spiritual traditions of Hindu Dharma. We can develop HUA to offer programs and courses that cover every important dimension of Hindu Dharma and Indic knowledge systems, such as Veda, Vedanta, Yoga, Ayurveda, Vaastu, Jyotisha, and map that traditional knowledge into contemporary areas of interest such as Sustainability, Holistic Health, Psychology, Spirituality, Spiritual Counseling, Leadership and Management, Science and Spirituality, Comparative Science of Cultures, Religion and Theology, Sociology, Political Science, Conflict Resolution and so on. Securing full accreditation from the appropriate commissions and agencies in the US will be another critical milestone on this journey.
We anticipate that as we move forward with our strategy, HUA will further evolve into a hybrid University format, containing both online and onsite components, supported by “Centers for Study and Spiritual Renewal” (Sadhana and Swadhyaya) at multiple locations. We envision to start with a wide range of certificate and continuing education courses, strengthen the existing Master’s and Doctoral level programs, followed by the Associate and Bachelor’s Degrees. It is even possible to imagine the emergence of a mainstream university down the road, just as institutions such as Harvard University also arose out of Harvard Divinity School, established originally as Harvard College for the purpose of studying the Bible.
We are in the process of putting together a high caliber and dedicated team of persons who will work full time to build HUA. In order to launch a rich catalog of high-quality online courses, and an effective marketing engine that goes with it, and to re-launch the whole initiative in a very professional manner, we are aspiring to raise a total of $ 6 Million as part of our Phase-I Seed Capital Fund-Raising campaign. Of this we are hoping that we will reach a first milestone of $1 million by Dec 31st, 2018, or as early as possible thereafter.
Many people have contributed towards the emergence and operation of the Hindu University of America, throughout its 25-year history. It was inspired by Swami Tilak, (who passed away at a young age in a car accident) and has been supported by several people such as Dr. Mahesh Mehta, Shri Brahma Aggarwal, Shri Abhinav Dwivedi, Dr. Ramprakash Agrawal, and many others. It is impossible to fully list all the people who have contributed towards the sustenance of HUA, but our heart-felt acknowledgement goes out to all of them.
It is our Sankalpa, to enable a collective unified effort, in which the whole of the Hindu Community can participate in building up an accredited Hindu institution of higher learning that we can all be proud of.