New V-C for holistic development of Madurai Kamaraj University
Kalyani Mathivanan takes charge as the Vice Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University on Monday. Photo: S. James | The Hindu

Kalyani Mathivanan, Head, Department of English, Ethiraj College for Women, Chennai on Monday assumed charge as the 14th Vice-Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University. She also holds the unique record of becoming the first woman VC in the University's 46-year-old history.

Daughter-in-law of one of the DMK's founding fathers and former Tamil Nadu Finance Minister V. R. Nedunchezhian (fondly referred as Navalar), she had called upon the Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to express thanks for the responsibility bestowed upon her on Monday before coming to Madurai.

Dr. Mathivanan holds a PhD and D.Litt, in English from Madras University and has 30 years of teaching experience. She said that ‘Holistic Development' of the university would be her action plan. As of now, Twelfth Plan preparations and the University with Potential for Excellence projects to be done stands as her immediate priorities.

She also said that she will try to solve as many problems as possible which the University has been facing in the recent past. I will work for the betterment of all the sections of the University and it is my first priority.

When asked about the neglect of social sciences and humanities and too much of prioritization for physical sciences, she said:

“As V-C of MKU I will have a holistic perspective and no department would be neglected and we would speak with the higher educational authorities and seek more funds for the development of every department.

“It is not only my dream but my parents and parents-in-law's dream that has become a reality and now I occupy the position of V-C where my father, M. D. K. Kuthalingam, served in the 90s.” On being the first woman VC, she said that she was elated and also felt that being a woman is an advantage as they are already into multitasking donning various roles so “I have an edge over my male counterparts.”

Talking about her academic background and her family, she said that the legacy and rich heritage of her family would be an advantage, but on whether it could also prove to be disadvantage to live up to the expectations and also denies her a subaltern's perspective, she cited the example of film actor Dhanush and how he came out of his father-in-law Rajnikanth's shadow and proved his mettle, “ I would certainly carry forward the legacy and I am optimistic, Dr. Mathivanan said.

Dr. Mathivanan was appointed as Vice-Chancellor on Saturday after she received the order from Tamil Nadu Governor K. Rosaiah. She introduced her son Jeevan Nedunche0zhian, a national-level tennis player who had his higher education in the US.

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