In 1935, three visionaries in western India set up an educational trust with a philosophy of transparency, participation and growth. Kasturbhai Lalbhai, a philanthropist and doyen of the textile industry, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who would later be the first home minister of independent India, and Ganesh Mavalankar, the speaker of the first Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, came together with an ambitious conception of what education could become. Their successors at the Ahmedabad Education Society have endowed the fledgling Ahmedabad University with a substantial initial corpus and a dream of creating a world-class private teaching and research university.
The School of Arts and Sciences has a rare chance to re-imagine a place of learning in the global academy and within subcontinental traditions of scholarship and knowledge. In five years, it will have more than two hundred faculty and staff, and over a thousand students. Institutionally, it is already rooted in the ambitious, creative character of the university, and inspired by the cultural history of Ahmedabad, which was chosen by UNESCO as India’s first World Heritage City. The School of Arts and Sciences building, which was designed by Rahul Mehrotra Architects, will be completed in early 2019. It will be visible from the entrance to the University’s 180-acre campus, and bounded to the north by a forest.
The School of Arts and Sciences has five divisions: Humanities and Languages, Social Sciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Biological and Life Sciences and Performing and Visual Arts.
This is, we are told, Asia’s century: global structures of economic, political and cultural power are in flux. It is also a time when demands for an overlap between the arts and sciences are greater than ever. Our goal here is to change learning, and to motivate our students to change the world. As artificial intelligence and big data make complex moral and political demands on our understanding; as digital technology fundamentally changes music and the possibilities of art; as questions about the future of the environment spring up at the interstices of science and philosophy, we will seek to act as a bridge not only between the liberal arts and sciences, but between academic and intellectual life.
Dean, School of Arts and Sciences