Arcadia University taps Ajay Nair for president

Arcadia University campus in Glenside. Many local colleges and universities, including Arcadia, are deciding how to proceed and are preparing for all eventualities, be it in-person, online, or virtual classes.

Arcadia University, roiled by leadership troubles in recent years, has hired a new president – a senior vice president and dean of campus life at Emory University in Georgia.

Ajay Nair will be the first president of color in the Glenside university’s 164-year history and is among few American born college presidents of Indian descent in the nation, writes Susan Snyder for

A native of Philadelphia who also grew up in Broomall, he has local ties, having worked for the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania State University and having received his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from Penn State.

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“It’s a blessing to return home to the Philadelphia area to lead an institution with the potential to transform delivery of a liberal arts education to produce work-ready and life-ready students,” said Nair, 43, a scholar specializing in social justice, race, and ethnicity issues. “I look forward to working with our stakeholders to build a compelling vision for Arcadia that creates best practices in higher education.”

Alison (Aaron) Madsen, chair of the university’s board of trustees and an Arcadia alumna, said trustees were pleased with Nair’s credentials.

“As an international scholar, social justice practitioner and first-generation college student, (Nair) demonstrates a distinct understanding of the complex issues currently facing universities and their students,” said Madsen, an attorney. “We have complete confidence that Dr. Nair will move Arcadia forward as a leading liberal arts institution.”

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