India-born Jayathi Murthy becomes president of Oregon State University

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NEW DELHI: India-born educator Jayathi Y Murthy has become the 16th president of the Oregon State University (OSU),  one of the top universities in the United States known for its cutting-edge research and facilities, particularly in the fields of AI, robotics and advanced technology.

Jayathi 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. An IIT Kanpur alum, she said, “Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion is a deeply held conviction of mine and is central to my work as an educator and administrator. As an engineer, I have often been the only woman in the room since I was 16”,

Jayathi Murthy said international engagement and contributing to a global community are OSU’s 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.”

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. “As someone who came to the US to attend graduate school from India, I know the challenges — and new opportunities — you may face,” Murthy said.

“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.”

Murthy assumes leadership of Oregon State at a time of great momentum within Oregon’s largest university that has seen OSU set records in enrollment, research and philanthropy. 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 $1 billion to the campaign with $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 $200 million research and education centre 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 centre 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.

“The Jen-Hsun and Lori Huang Collaborative Innovation Complex at Oregon State University will be much more than a building. It will serve as a university-wide promise and as a hub for advancing groundbreaking solutions for the betterment of humanity, the environment and the economy”, said Murthy.

The centre will employ a NVIDIA supercomputer to support faculty in addressing highly complex and challenging computational problems. The OSU supercomputer, powered by next-generation NVIDIA CPUs, GPUs and networking, is expected to be among the world’s fastest university supercomputers, powerful enough to train the largest AI models and perform complex digital twin simulations.

“AI is the most transformative technology of our time,” said Jen-Hsun and Lori Huang. “To harness this force, engineering students need access to a supercomputer, a time machine, to accelerate their research. This new AI supercomputer will enable OSU students and researchers to make very important advances in climate science, oceanography, materials science, robotics, and other fields”.

Prior to taking the leadership role at OSU, Jayathi 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. She 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. She is married to Sanjay Mathur, an aerospace engineer. (ANI/NewsVoir)

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