The appointment of Dr. Mahesh Rangarajan, a former journalist and respected environmentalist as vice chancellor of Krea University, sited in Sri City (Andhra Pradesh), a two-hour drive from Chennai, offers the institution the chance to make a new beginning after a damp squib start. Krea University was established in 2018 with high hopes as India’s first “interwoven liberal arts, science” (and business management) university.
Promoted under the Ashoka University model of collective philanthropy with a huge corpus of Rs.700 crore, Krea University (KU) aroused great enthusiasm as the pioneer liberal arts varsity of peninsular (south) India where science and professional (engineering, medical) higher ed institutions are the rule. To the extent that your editor, despite not quite in the pink of health, journeyed to Sri City to write a comprehensive, highly complimentary cover feature. But curiously, your editor who visited the campus and interviewed key members of its blue-blooded faculty including vice chancellor Dr. Sunder Ramawamy, received not a word of thanks from Ramaswamy or any communication from any of its worthies thereafter.
Reportedly, a suggestion of this publication’s marketing team to KU that it purchase 50 copies of the issue for distribution to faculty and board members was interpreted by Ramaswamy — ill-advisedly plucked out of a provincial American university and appointed founder VC of KU — as “taking commercial advantage”. That’s poor math given that a page of advertising in EducationWorld is priced at Rs.1 lakh, and we wrote a seven-page cover story — a gift of Rs.7 lakh to this penny wise pound foolish institution with a proclaimed endowment of Rs.700 crore.
For KU’s sake one hopes that the media management skills of Rangarajan, a former journalist, are better.