Monday, November 29, 2010

Beheruz. N. Sethna: Brain Gain

By Lavina Melwani • Nov 28th, 2010

The US has several Indian-Americans doing important work in academia. Meet Beheruz. N. Sethna, President of West Georgia University which has a budget of $ 100 million and 100 programs of study through the doctoral level.

He’s a Parsi who’s got some important firsts affixed to his name: he is the first person of Indian origin to ever become the president of a university anywhere in the US. He’s also the first person from any ethnic minority to become president of a predominantly white or racially-integrated university or college in Georgia.

While Indian heads of American universities are becoming more commonplace now, back in the 80’s Sethna, who is a professor of Business Administration, was the only one. In fact he has the rare distinction of being the president of three universities – West Georgia College, State University of West Georgia, and The University of West Georgia – all of them in the same office! He jokes, “I was the last President of West Georgia College, the first and only President of the State

University of West Georgia, and the first President of The University of West Georgia.”

He had started as the president of a College with 7,000+ students, and today, the institution after two name and designation changes, is one of four robust- tier doctoral comprehensive universities in the 35-campus University System of Georgia, with 11,500 students.

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