Pitt forging stronger relationships in India

Gallagher and Pitt delegation light candles to honor the Ganges.


India — the country with the second highest number of international students on Pitt’s campuses and the third highest for alumni — is a pretty obvious destination for Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, who made his first trip to the Asian country in early May.


Chancellor Patrick Gallagher will next go to Newcastle University in the United Kingdom.

The two universities have established a special tie and Gallagher will be awarded an honorary degree there in July.

Earlier this year, Newcastle Vice Chancellor Chris Day was on the Oakland campus for a public presentation with Gallagher on “Our Place in Changing Cities.”

“The major international trips I take — and usually there’s only maybe one or two a year—come out of a multi-year planning process through UCIS (University Center for International Studies),” Gallagher said. “They are based on an assessment of all the activities happening in a given region and whether they have risen to a level that it’s really worthwhile for me to get there and start developing some networks. India’s been on our radar since I started.”

In addition to Indian students here and Indian alumni, Pitt has a very active study abroad program in India and several collaborations with Indian institutions, including three more that Gallagher and other Pitt officials inked deals with during the trip. Accompanying the chancellor were Ariel Armony, vice provost for global affairs; Joseph Alter, director of Pitt’s Asia Studies Center; Arjang A. Assad, dean of the Katz Graduate School of Business; and Jason Kane, head of constituent relations for UCIS.

During the trip, memorandums of understanding were signed with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and the Indian School of Business, both in Hyderabad. The MOUs set the stage for Pitt and the Indian institutions to explore joint research projects, facilitate student and faculty exchanges, organize joint workshops and conferences, and share innovative teaching methods and course design.

Several Pitt alumni helped orchestrate the trip, including Rajendra Srivastava (MBA ‘78, Ph.D. ‘79), who is dean of the Indian School of Business.

Armony also signed an MOU with the Telangana State Council of Higher Education to disseminate information about higher education opportunities in Pittsburgh and Telangana State, and provide guidance regarding career opportunities and options for visiting students from Telangana State.

An article in the Times of India about the Pitt visit — which included a Q&A with Armony — stated that, “While there is no dearth of talent in the country (India), the lack of effective research in the various domains has been a point of concern for a long time. Top universities have over the past decade reached out to connect with top universities abroad to set up research centres in the country with the aim of providing the ecosystem for holistic growth.”

Gallagher also gave a speech at the Asiatic Society of Mumbai on “Are We Cyber-Secure Enough?” The talk focused on a partnership between the public and private sectors to handle cyber-criminal activities effectively.

He also was able to see some of the work Pitt faculty are doing in India.

“With the IIT Hyderabad, software engineering faculty, including Sanjeev Shroff (professor and chair in bioengineering in the Swanson School) have been doing a lot of work on artificial hearts and other kinds of technology in collaboration with them,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher talks to P.S. ReddyThe chancellor met with Dr. P.S. Reddy, a Pitt professor of medicine, at the MediCiti Institute of Medical Science. Reddy, who last year was awarded the UCIS Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement, developed the undergraduate medical college in Hyderabad and established SHARE (Science Health Allied Research and Education) India to improve health care delivery, rural public health intervention, and medical training in India.

Working with MediCiti, the Indian School of Business and the Indian Institute of Technology, Pitt hopes to establish Hyderabad as a hub for its research and education programs in India.

“We not only signed the MOUs, but we got to spend time with those teams, really get to know them personally, exchange ideas, see what they’re working on,” Gallagher said. “And, you know, like anything, no matter how technological the work is, it’s always a people business in the end.”

For Gallagher, the best part of the trip was meeting with Pitt students studying in India in the Uttarakhand state near the Himalayan Mountains.

“There’s a just an amazing study abroad program with Pitt in the Himalayans,” said Gallagher, who met with two student groups. “One had just come back from a trek that was our emergency medicine and wilderness medicine group. And there was another group from the business school … that was about to go out on a trek. I got a chance to be with all the students in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, right on the backdrop of the Himalayan Mountains.”

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at suejones@pitt.edu or 412-648-4294.

Pitt students in India