Big Sandy Community and Technical College named a gazebo on its Prestonsburg campus
in honor of the late Dr. Mahendra Varia and Dr. Chandra Varia during a ceremony held
on Friday, April 25.
Dr. George D. Edwards, president and CEO of Big Sandy Community and Technical College, announced the naming of Dr. Mahendra Varia as an emeritus board member of the Big Sandy College Educational Foundation, Inc.
Dr. Mahendra Varia, a retired veterinarian, passed away on February 16, 2014. He was 78. Also on April 25, a mountain and hill in the city of Martin was named in his honor. Dr. Mahendra Varia served on the Martin City Council from 1998 until his death.
The Varia family have had a longstanding relationship with big Sandy Community and Technical College. Their support has spanned generations, from their first donation in 1982 to the establishment of the Drs. Varia Endowment Fund (1991), the Drs. Varia Emergency Loan Fund (2000), Varia Scholarship Fund (2000), Drs. Chandra and Mahendra Varia Endowed Scholarship (2000), Drs. Mahendra and Chandra Varia Nursing Emergency Grant Fund, the Varia Public High School Student Scholarship Endowment (2010) and the Varia Special Fund (2013).
The Varia name is associated with helping people and giving back, said Dr. Edwards. In 2010, Big Sandy Community and Technical College named the student lounge on its Prestonsburg campus in honor of Dr. Mahendra Varia and Dr. Chandra Varia. Last year, the atrium on the colleges Pikeville campus was named in their honor. The Varia family means so much to so many. They have contributed greatly to this community.
Dr. Mahendra Varia and Dr. Chandra Varia, a physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology at Saint Joseph hospital in Martin, have both been active board members with the Big Sandy College Educational Foundation, Inc. since 1991.
Julie Paxton, chair of the Big Sandy College Educational Foundation, Inc., said the Varia family has worked for decades to promote the value of education.
The Varia family has made it their lifes work to provide endless opportunities for others to do better, said Paxton. While Dr. Mahendra Varia is no longer with us, his spirit lives on through the countless lives he touched.
One of those lives is Joslyn Isaac, a senior at South Floyd High School and student with the Floyd County Early College Academy. In two weeks, Isaac, who has already been accepted to the University of Kentucky, will graduate from Big Sandy Community and Technical College with an Associate in Science degree.
When I think of Dr. Mahendra Varia, one word comes to mind: philanthropy, she said. I know I would not be able to accomplish what I have without the support of the Varia family.
Clara Garrett, coordinator of the nursing program at BSCTC, said the Varia family helped establish single-parent program years ago that provided support for many nurses to complete their degrees.
Its not just monetary donations, but also selfless service, said Garrett. A nursing laboratory on the colleges Prestonsburg campus is named in honor of the Varia family and Dr. Chandra Varia serves on the advisory board for the colleges nursing program. Dr. Mahendra Varia made the world a better place, and the family will continue his work for years to come.
Soha Shah, the niece of Dr. Mahendra Varia, said he and Dr. Chandra Varia always valued education.
No matter what it was, graduating nursing school, undergraduate or a masters degree, I would always get a congratulatory call or card, said Shah. Their reach is multigenerational.
Shah summed up her familys philosophy with a quote from Henry Ford: Anyone that stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone that keeps learning stays young.
Samir Shah, the nephew of Dr. Mahendra and Dr. Chandra Varia, said Dr. Mahendra Varia strongly believed the gift of education opens the doors and breaks the cycle of poverty. To see the community acknowledge their efforts in a nice and honorable way is heartwarming and rewarding.