Jayathi Y. Murthy, an eminent educator born in India and an IIT Kanpur alum, has become the 16th President of the Oregon State University (OSU) – one of the top universities in the United States in the fields of AI, robotics and advanced technology. The US public university has more than 34,000 students enrolled in various academic and research programmes. Indian students comprise the second largest group of international students at OSU after China. Murthy,64, is the first woman of colour to lead OSU that works on addressing some of the most pressing issues facing the planet from climate change to sustainability.
Prior to taking the leadership role at OSU, Ms Murthy served as the Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Murthy received a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Washington State University and a Bachelor of Technology degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.
“My own journey is a story of access to education and opportunity to grow and achieve. I thank my parents for being incredibly far-seeing. They gave me opportunities as a young girl in India to attend one of the country’s finest engineering schools. My parents provided me the opportunity to come to America for graduate school. My education enabled me to pursue opportunities in private industry and academia, and now to serve as Oregon State’s president,” she said while adding that international engagement and contributing to a global community are OSU priorities.
“At Oregon State, we celebrate the contributions and perspectives of more than 2,500 international students from over 100 countries and many international faculty and scholars engaged in the university. The unique backgrounds and experiences of international students and faculty enrich Oregon State’s teaching, research and community engagement. As someone who came to the U.S. to attend graduate school from India, I know the challenges – and new opportunities – you may face,” Murthy said. “Please know that at Oregon State, we are here to support you.
In October this year OSU and OSU Foundation launched a major fundraising and engagement campaign that aims to raise US$1.75 billion to support a range of priority initiatives. Donors have already committed more than US$1 billion to the campaign with US$460 million earmarked for student support, including scholarships, fellowships and experiential learning funds and US$500 million for faculty positions and academic program support.
The University has also announced a US$200 million research and education center that will harness one of the United States’ most powerful supercomputers and team-based research in artificial intelligence, materials science and robotics to solve global challenges in areas such as climate science, oceanography, sustainability and water resources.
The center will be named the Jen-Hsun and Lori Huang Collaborative Innovation Complex following a gift of US$50 million to the OSU Foundation from Jen-Hsun Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA, and his wife Lori, both of whom are OSU graduates.
An INTO survey released earlier this year revealed that computer science has emerged as the second most preferred subject for Indian students looking to study abroad after engineering. In total, 12% of both millennial and Gen Z students say they are interested in computer science — second only to engineering (18%) and ahead of business studies (11%).
The cutting-edge research center will further consolidate Oregon State University’s position as one of the most preferred destinations for frontier areas of science and technology among international students,” said Olivia Streatfeild, CEO of INTO University Partnerships – OSU’s partner for international student recruitment.