Gratified to help others achieve their goals rather than work for oneself, Virinder Moudgil considers it a great privilege to represent Indian heritage and communities in Michigan, USA, through his academic post as president and CEO of Lawrence Technological University, which he took over on July 1, 2012. Moudgil was earlier senior vice-president and provost at Oakland University. Growing up in India during a period when it gradually transitioned from a colonist to an independent country, Moudgil received his PhD in zoology-biochemistry from Banaras Hindu University in 1972. A research fellow in India for two years, he came to the United States in 1973 to take up a postdoctoral fellowship at Mayo Clinic. An assistant professor job at Oakland University launched his professional career.
En route to India every two-three years for attending family events and professional conferences, Moudgil has keenly observed the changes going on here. “There are profound changes in resources in India in the university environment. Many faculty have large grants and equipment that is still economically prohibited in the US. A lot of good research is being conducted and published from India,” he says. During his last visit to his alma mater, BHU, he signed an MoU with IIT at the varsity. As a trivia he adds that it is the latest and only IIT in India to be named after a university and not a city or a town.
Applauding didactic education in India for being par excellence, he advises that implementation of creative ideas and applied research can use some strength. “The British legacy of education sometimes hinders free dialogue between a creative student and an exalted professor for the fear of being seen as rude. Legacy funding should be re-evaluated and rewards should be performance-based,” he validates his point. A firm believer in water finding its own level, the president preaches that those with talent and hard work will find their worth in the society when they become contributors to the economic, social and political spheres.
He also dissuades people from succumbing to racism. “The best way to combat this menace is to act fair and keep performing at your best. The benefit of good work will prevail over any bias.
America has given opportunities to those who could not find them in their native lands,” justifies Moudgil. An avid reader of history (Indian, British Raj, US, French), he also keeps updating his knowledge of science and medicine. Recreational aspirations have led him to dabble in poetry and cricket. He and his wife, Parviz Gandhi, dote on their two children, Sapna and Rishi, and their grandson, Aditya.