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Two Drury professors give of themselves to help children half a world away

For Immediate Release: September 18

Contact:
Peter Browning, Ph. D.
Theme Year Director
Professor & Chaplain
Philosophy & Religion
Office: (417) 873-7231
E-mail: pbrowning@drury.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 18, 2009 — Drs. Radindra and Protima Roy will present “A Celebration of Hem Sheela School” at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24 in Stone Chapel on the Drury University campus. Hem Sheela is a school in the Roys’ home country of India that the couple founded.

Professor Rabindra Roy has taught chemistry at Drury for more than 40 years, and his wife teaches science education. Years ago, Professor Roy’s father asked him for $200 to fix the straw roof of a two-room, mud walled school in Durgapur. Professor Roy remembered how his parents used every cent they had to ensure that he received an education. Believing that education is the most important asset in life, he gladly donated the money, but soon after he also hatched his dream of replacing that school with a first-class facility that he would dedicate to his parents.

He and his wife were frugal by nature, but the dream of building a school intensified their incentive to save. How frugal were they? The couple never upgraded from their modest two-bedroom house in Springfield, and Prof. Roy had an old car that took him 22 years to drive into the ground. Only when the car burned up in a Drury parking lot did Roy buy another used car.

Saving every penny they could, the Roys amassed $1 million, and then they doubled it by following the investing advice of a friend. This amount enabled them to build their school in 1995. Today, the Hem Sheela Model School, named after Rabindra’s parents and built on a former rice paddy owned by his father, is self-sufficient. Many Hem Sheela graduates have gone on to the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology.

In recent years, the Roys opened a tribal school called the Protima Child and Women Development Center. It is several miles from Hem Sheela and serves rural children.

Drury University’s 2009-2010 convocation series Spirituality and Justice honors the connection between spirituality and intellectual pursuit and values interfaith dialogue.

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. For more details about speakers, changes to speaker schedule, and information, please visit www.drury.edu/convo0910 or contact Theme Year Director Peter Browning, Ph. D. at (417) 873-7231 or pbrowning@drury.edu.

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