• February 3, 2019
UIC College of Dentistry Dr. Amarjit S. Marwah Square Los Angeles

Dr. Amarjit Singh Marwah, MS Histology ’56, a College benefactor, was honored on February 3 by the City of Los Angeles with an honorary square named for him in the Hollywood community at the intersection of Vermont and Finley Avenues, where he was instrumental in helping to establish the Hollywood Sikh Temple—the first Sikh temple in the United States—in 1969.

The City of Los Angeles formally recognized Dr. Marwah and his late wife, Mrs. Kuljit K. Marwah, at the temple’s dedication in November 1969.

The February 3 dedication of the city square was especially poignant as it was the day before Dr. Marwah’s 93rd birthday. Approximately 200 people attended the dedication.

Los Angeles dedicated the Marwah Square “because I’ve done a lot of work for my community,” Dr. Marwah said. “In 1969, there were no Sikh temples in the United States, so I donated a building and the surrounding property to establish one.”

In addition to his instrumental role in establishing the Hollywood Sikh Temple, Dr. Marwah served Los Angeles Mayor Thomas J. Bradley and his administration for 18 years. Mayor Bradley appointed him Commissioner for Art and Cultural Heritage and Commissioner of Planning, and in those roles he obtained historic status for more than 200 locations, including Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. He also has served as Chair of the World Arts Council in Los Angeles.

“I feel honored, being in a foreign country I adopted, that I was able to serve the people with dignity and pride,” Dr. Marwah said.

Council Member David Ryu was responsible for introducing legislation that resulted in the naming of the square.

“Dr. Marwah has been an incredible and selfless leader, not just for Los Angeles, where his Hollywood Gurudwara is located, but for the broader Sikh community across California and the world,” Council Member Ryu said. “He has always been welcoming and supportive to people of all backgrounds. It has been an honor to work with him, learn from him, and see him help make Los Angeles a better place for all.”  

Dr. Marwah also is known for his support of many humanitarian causes in India. Dr. Marwah founded the KK Marwah Girls College in Faridkot, Punjab, and also provided funding to build an auditorium for Mahindra College, Patiala, India. The college and auditorium are named for his late wife, Kuljit. Dr. Marwah also created a charitable foundation and serves as its President.

“Dr. and Mrs. Marwah have made an indelible impact on so many communities around the world. Their powerful benevolence has shaped arts, culture, and education. Their philanthropic and humanitarian works bring renown to UIC Dentistry,” said Dean Clark Stanford.

Dr. Marwah adopted two villages in India, Guru Ki Dhab and Guru Nanak Basti. In both, he built infrastructure to provide running water 24 hours per day in every home, sewage/drainage systems, interlocking tiles and palm trees on all streets, and a modern town hall. Both villages erected statues in his honor.

He also founded the Bank of Punjab in India, a forerunner of the HDFC Bank.

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