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Lehigh Expands Presence in India

University extends its global reach with new staff, continuing initiatives 

Story by

Tim Hyland

As part of its ever-broadening global strategy, Lehigh is growing its presence in India with the aim of expanding access for highly talented Indian students and creating stronger connections among  the university, industry partners and India-based alumni. 

Heading up admissions recruitment efforts in India will be Shishir Upadhyaya, who has been named Lehigh's first Senior International Advisor. Upadhyaya, who previously served in advisory roles at both Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health (MCPHS University)  in Boston and the Royal College of Physicians in Glasgow, Scotland, has nearly 15 years of experience in health care, pharmaceuticals and higher education, and via his base in Delhi, will work to develop strategies to allow Lehigh to increase the number of students who are applying to and ultimately enrolling at the university. 

Shortly, Lehigh also plans to add a second staff member in India. The Senior Manager of Business Development and Partnerships will play a key role in cultivating relationships with India-based alumni, while also seeking to develop strategic partnerships in both business and academia.

Vice President and Vice Provost for International Affairs Cheryl Matherly said the expansion in India represents a key step forward for Lehigh as it seeks to fully realize its global vision. 

"We spent a great deal of time and energy developing a potential framework for our global strategy, and one of the key takeaways from that work was a general agreement that India was a place that we needed to be," Matherly said. "We decided India was an area that we would focus on, and that it would serve as a great region in which we could maximize opportunities for the university."

The move into India will build on existing Lehigh initiatives in the region, and will present numerous potential new areas for growth, Matherly said. As she notes:

  • India has the largest youth population in the world, with over 600 million people under the age of 25.
  • India is now the world’s fastest growing major economy, outpacing China in terms of overall growth rate. Some predict that India will become the second-largest economy in the world by 2025.
  • The number of Indians in the middle income brackets is expected to increase by 10 times over the course of the next two decades.
  • Only 7 percent of our international students are from India; the national average for universities stands at 17 percent. 
  • India is among the top 10 countries for Lehigh alumni living abroad.
  • This new expansion builds on current initiatives that Lehigh is already pursuing. Lehigh in 2017 initiated an important partnership with Ashoka University, one of the most highly regarded institutions in India.  Additionally, Lehigh faculty have active research collaborations with several other Indian institutions, including IIT Delhi and IIT Kharagpur.

For these reasons and many others, Matherly says, India is a uniquely attractive market. But she notes that even as Lehigh makes strategic investments there, it continues to evaluate potential new opportunities around the world. 

"This will be the first time when Lehigh will be investing deeply into a particular region and working to create the operational infrastructure that will support positive outcomes for faculty, staff and students, and also generate real results related to recruitment," she says. "But it also supports our alumni engagement goals and our development goals, and will serve to further our active research networks as well."

Story by

Tim Hyland