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Plaksha University appoints Dr. S. Shankar Sastry of the University of California, Berkeley, as the Founding Chancellor


New Delhi, Nov 3, 2022: Plaksha University, one of India's largest collective philanthropy efforts to build a tech university of global eminence, has announced the appointment of Dr. S. Shankar Sastry as the Founding Chancellor. He was the Dean of Engineering for over a decade (2007-2018) at the University of California (UC), Berkeley. Dr. Sastry is currently the Thomas Siebel Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley.

Dr. Sastry has held several prominent positions during his academic career which includes being the chair of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) department at UC Berkeley and the Director of the Information Technology Office at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Arlington. He also served on the faculty of MIT and Harvard.

Neeraj Aggarwal, Chairman - Asia Pacific, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Founder, and Chairperson, Board of Trustees, Plaksha University said, “Dr. Sastry is a highly respected academic leader and an institution builder globally. We have been very fortunate to have him as the Chair of our Academic Advisory Board for the past 5 years. We are now delighted to have him join as our Chancellor. He epitomizes the idea of reimagining higher education and building a vibrant higher education ecosystem that supports high-impact research. His in-depth professional experience, knowledge, and leadership will guide Plaksha University to craft a unique learning experience for curious tinkerers.

Dr. Sastry is deeply committed to the use of technology to lift people out of poverty as testified by his work with USAID, PhilDev, and other foundations. His research areas include AI and Machine Learning, resilient cyber-physical systems, mechanism design and incentive theory for the digital transformation system of complex societal scale system networks, cybersecurity, autonomous robotic vehicles and robots, computer vision, nonlinear and adaptive control, and control of hybrid and embedded systems. Dr. Sastry holds a B. Tech degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. He completed his MA in Mathematics and MS, Ph.D in EECS from UC, Berkeley. He also holds honorary doctoral degrees from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, the University of Waterloo, Canada, and the Politecnico di Torino, Italy.

On his appointment as Chancellor of Plaksha University, Dr. S. Shankar Sastry said," Higher education is at an inflection point. We need to provide students with a pedagogical experience at the nexus of Technology, Entrepreneurship and Design. Further, we need to challenge students to confront the messy societal scale grand challenge problems that confront us today. The opportunity to be a part of Plaksha University that has a unique model of being a modern research university with a new pedagogy and outlook, is a privilege and an exciting challenge for me."

He further added, "I am heartened to see that Plaksha University has a wonderful set of founders and has already recruited a fantastic team of faculty and staff diligently working towards its purpose of reimagining technology education in India. I look forward to working with the team at Plaksha and steering this new kind of 21st-century university to greater heights." His appointment is honorary, in that he will not be compensated for this role. Nonetheless, he is dedicated to the mission of transforming higher education. The formal investiture ceremony of the Founding Chancellor of Plaksha University will take place in December. Some of Dr. Sastry’s most notable recognitions include the President of India Gold Medal in 1977, the IBM Faculty Development Award in 1983, and the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1985.