Washington: The India-friendly president of the Yale University, Richard Levin, has announced stepping down from the helm of the prestigious American varsity at the end of the current academic session after a 20-year stint.
Levin, 65, the longest-serving leader in the Ivy League, said he will retire at the end of the current academic year.
As head of the university, Levin was instrumental in several key initiatives with India including the annual leadership programme for young Indian parliamentarians.
President of the Yale University for 20 years since 1993, Levin served the institution longer than any other president currently in the Ivy League or the 61-member Association of American Universities.
According to a university release, Levin made advancing Yale`s connections to India a priority of his administration in recent years.
Levin travelled to India five times between 2005 and 2011, and during his November 2008 visit he announced the launch of the Yale-India Initiative.
"Yale commits itself to the goal that India will have a permanent and prominent place in the teaching, scholarship, and the life of the institution," he said.
"Decades from now, as India continues its economic, political, and social ascendancy, the commitments that Yale had made today will ensure that our students and faculty have a richer and deeper understanding of India, and will contribute to strengthening the relationship between the world`s two largest democracies," Levin said.
Over the last five years, Yale committed significant financial resources to position itself among the world`s pre-eminent institutions for the study of and engagement with India and South Asia.
During his tenure, Yale hired eighteen new faculty who teach and work on India and South Asia; expanded resources for Yale students and faculty to work and study in, and to experience India; and allowed resources to attract the most talented students from the region to Yale by providing generous financial aid and scholarships.
During his presidency, Yale launched the India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Program that has been attended by more than seventy members of India`s Parliament since it was begun in 2007; it also launched in the India-Yale Higher Education Leadership Program in 2011 to build the leadership capacity in Indian higher education.
Levin has regularly met and interacted with India’s leaders in government, business, and civil society since 2004.
"Rick Levin is simply one of the world`s great leaders," said Indra Nooyi, the current Yale trustee and chairman and CEO of PepsiCo.
"He has been transformational in envisioning how a university should be a leading citizen in its home community and he has boldly staked out how the leading universities should become global institutions. His example has been a guide for how universities around the world can have a much greater impact," Nooyi said.