Virinder Moudgil will not be leaving Oakland University empty-handed.
Instead, he will be leaving with a lot of friends, memories and a new job.
The Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost recently accepted the position of University President at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield. He was selected by a 13-person selection committee after a 10-month national search.
“Dr. Moudgil has a strong record of leading exemplary academic progress and program development,” Lloyd Reuss, LTU chairperson, said in a press release. “He is an excellent communicator and we anticipate that he will accelerate Lawrence Tech’s advancement and services to students and the professions across Michigan and the nation.”
An extensive history
Moudgil got his start at Oakland in 1976 as assistant professor of biological sciences. From there, he was promoted to full professor and served as the chair of the department of biological sciences. He was appointed to Provost in July 2001.
He isn’t known just for being Provost though. Moudgil is known for his commitment to his students and most importantly, his research. He worked long hours, leaving his job as provost for the day to return to the labs each night. His most recent project involved doing research on steroid hormone action as it relates to breast cancer.
Amelita Sanchez, Moudgil’s lab manager and a doctoral candidate, has worked with him for many years, starting with her post-baccalaureate degree and through her doctorate degree. In addition to being involved with his breast cancer research, Sanchez worked with him frequently. She also spoke at his commemorative reception.
“Imagine having someone who is entirely dedicated to you and your work, is your staunchest supporter and is always available to you and then is not there anymore,” she said. “For certain, we will still stay in touch, however, there will be a void that cannot be filled.”
Moudgil has made many contributions to Oakland during his 36-year career, including the introduction of online learning, sponsorship of a summer undergraduate program in eye research, dedicating millions in support of faculty research and programs, laboratory improvements and student research, just to name a few.
A heartfelt goodbye
Gary Russi, university president, arranged a reception for the departing provost on May 30, which ended up being a full house and included speeches from coworkers, students and his son.
“For the past 11 years, Virinder has been right by my side as provost,” Russi said. “I relied on him for clear and no-nonsense counsel, and he always delivered. I will miss him as a colleague and as a friend. Dr. Moudgil is without a doubt among the most influential and most respected faculty members and administrators in the history of Oakland University. Virinder, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything you gave to this institution. You will never be forgotten.”
Moudgil was given a chair with the OU Sail logo on it from Russi, as well as two plaques — one from Interim Provost Susan Awbrey and the other from Peggy Cooke, senior vice president of academic affairs. The biomedical laboratory he used to do his research was also renamed in his honor.
Dru Doran, Moudgil’s senior executive secretary, said she enjoyed Moudgil for many reasons.
Most importantly for his interest in poetry and life lessons he taught her.
“A day did not go by that I didn’t learn something from Dr. Moudgil,” Doran said. “Not only did he make sure that I was well informed regarding Oakland University, but there were also history and cultural lessons as well as poetry and countless other topics. Of course, there were the previews of his jokes that he would be inserting into his speeches as was his signature trait. He is a unique and charismatic man — one of immense integrity. I can honestly say that I am a better person for having known him.”
The campus community, friends and colleagues were encouraged to submit their impressions and reflections on Moudgil online. They can be read at www.oakland.edu/moudgil
A new beginning
Moudgil will start his new job on July 1. Even though he will be given a presidential house, he said he plans on staying in Rochester with his family as much as possible.
In regards to his new job, Moudgil said he is especially looking forward to do what he can to advance LTU further and collaborating with Oakland.
“Lawrence Tech is a ranked university and the quality of it’s programs will allow flexibility and opportunities of exploration of initiatives and new ideas that are more relevant to the academic and economic environments,” he said. “Most importantly, many OU faculty have collaborations with LTU faculty, so there is an opportunity to join hands to advance mutual interests.”
He also said he will never forget Oakland and enjoyed helping the school grow into what it is today.
“Oakland has been a home to me 24/7 and that included holidays,” he said. “My 36 years have seen OU grow from a small college to a comprehensive university to now a doctoral research institution. This is an amazing ride of evolution.”
Contact Editor-in-Chief Nichole Seguin via email at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @naseguin