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Honorary Degree Bestowed in Educator from India-Based University

(Posted May 12, 2003)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- N. Unnikrishnan Nair, vice chancellor of Cochin University of Science and Technology in Cochin, India, will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree from Juniata College, Sunday, May 11 at 2 p.m. during Juniata's 125th commencement ceremony.

Nair holds the position of vice chancellor, which is equivalent to the position of university president in the United States at the renowned Indian university. Cochin is located about 700 miles south of Bombay. He has been instrumental in establishing an exchange program between the Brethren Colleges Abroad program and Cochin University of Science and technology, which has allowed dozens of Juniata College students and faculty to gain international experience.

Nair started his career as a mathematician, working at his alma mater, Kerala University in India. He worked as a lecturer in mathemematics at the university from 1964 to 1979. He was promoted to professor in 1979 and left the University of Kerala in 1986.

He began his administrative career at Cochin University of Science and Technology as director of youth welfare in 1986. He also maintained an active academic career as well, working as professor of statistics from 1987 to the present. He was promoted to director of the School for Mathematical Sciences in 1994, and named head of the Department of Statistics in 1996. During his tenure as department head he also assumed the duties of registrar from 1998 to 1999. In 1997, he served as visiting professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

In 1999, he was promoted to pro-vice chancellor at Cochin University of Science and Technology and was promoted to his present position in 2001. He has taught for more than 35 years and has written more than 70 articles and research papers. He also has written four books, including "Statistical Methods for Quality and Reliability." His research interests include distribution theory, demography and reliability modeling.

Nair earned all his major academic degrees from Kerala University. He earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1962, a master's degree in 1964 and went on to earn another master's degree in 1987. He also earned a doctorate in 1983. All his graduate degrees are in the field of statistics.

He has been named an elected member of the International Statistical Institute and also is a member of the UGC panel on Statistics. He is a life member of the Indian Society of Probability and Statistics, the Indian Statistical Association, the Indian Association for Productivity, Quality and Reliability, the Gujarat Statistical Association and Calcutta Statistical Association.

He also is editor of the journal Statistical Methods and serves on the editorial boards of several other journals. In addition to service on many academic boards and committees, Nair served as dean of the faculty of science at Cochin University of Science and Technology from 1995 to 1998.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.