Regents' Professor of Marketing
From 1994 to June, 2013, Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna served as President of the institution now known as the University of West Georgia (UWG). When he retired, he was the longest-serving University President in the State of Georgia (among both, public and private colleges and universities). The following accomplishments are shared ones, and reflect the work of several other colleagues and supporters.
During Dr. Sethna’s tenure as President, the institution saw transformative change from a College to a State University to a Ph.D.-granting SACS Level VI University (this is SACS’s highest level – e.g. the best private and public universities in the South are SACS Level VI, such as the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, U of Texas, U of Virginia, Emory, etc.). In August of 2013, the Board approved a sector change for UWG to a Comprehensive University with a mission to be a world-class academic institution.
During Dr. Sethna’s tenure, UWG’s academic standards increased several times and full-time equivalent enrollment increased by approximately 50 percent to close to 12,000 students.
Almost 40 new buildings have been added during Dr. Sethna’s tenure at UWG. During his tenure, more square footage was added than every other President combined since the institution started in 1906 – at an investment of almost one third of a billion dollars of new construction and renovation funds.
During his tenure, UWG awarded 33,000+ degrees, more than every other Presidential administration combined in the institution’s history (107 years, at the time he retired from his presidency).
The endowment was increased by more than 10 times its 1994 level.
Dr. Sethna has also served two terms in 1999-2000 and 2006-07 (each 12-15 months long) on an interim basis as Senior and then Executive Vice Chancellor for the entire University System of Georgia. He had functional responsibility for approximately 260,000 students and 10,000 faculty members, in all 35 public institutions in the State, including four Research Universities, 15 Comprehensive Universities, and 16 Two-year and State Colleges, in the following areas: Academic Affairs (all program and faculty decisions), Student Affairs (including admissions, registrars, and other student-related matters), Planning and Policy Analysis (research on University System data), the Office of Information and Instructional Technology (all technology decisions, including Y2K implementation, PeachNet – the Statewide backbone, and related areas) and (in 2006) Fiscal Affairs for part of the term. Plus: In 2006-07 as Executive Vice Chancellor, he had line responsibility for all 15 Comprehensive Universities, in which these Presidents reported to him.
As Tom Peters said, the best leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders: Dr. Sethna has helped develop, mentor, and/or give opportunities to many senior administrators, some of whom have reached the position of President and Vice Chancellor. He also serves as a Presidential Mentor for the American Council on Education’s Spectrum program, from which at least two of his protégés have risen to presidencies.
In December of 2013, after his retirement from the position of President, he was given the University of West Georgia’s highest honor, The Founder’s Award.
Dr. Sethna is the first known person of Indian origin ever to become President of a University in America. He was also the first person of any ethnic minority to become president of a college or university in Georgia other than a historically black college.
Dr. Sethna has been married for more than 45 years to the multi-talented Dr. Madhavi Sethna, who has an MBA from IIM-Ahmedabad, an MA from Columbia University, an MS from Clarkson University, and her doctorate from UWG.
Together, they have two children and four grandchildren. Dr. Anita Sethna is a surgeon specializing in facial plastics and reconstructive surgery at Emory University, who has two daughters: 6-year old Zarina Cole and 3-year-old Cyra Cole. Shaun Sethna is an engineer and an intellectual property attorney in Houston, married to Sunita Shirodkar, also an attorney; they are the parents of two sons: 4-year old Surin Sethna and Sian Sethna who is a year old.
Education / Degrees
- BS, B. Tech. (Honors) Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, 1971
- M.B.A., Master of Business Administration, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, 1973
- M. Phil., Master of Philosophy, Columbia University, New York, New York, 1975
- PhD, Business (Marketing), Columbia University, New York, New York, 1976
- Certificate, Certified Computing Professional, Association for Systems Management, Cleveland, OH, 1985
- Certificate, Advanced Faculty Development, MIS: A.A.C.S.B. and Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 1986
- Executive Program, Institute for Educational Management, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1991
- Executive Program, Experienced Presidents Seminar, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2008