Jul 2019
Jul 2019

Pittsburg attorney Jagan Nicholas Ranjan confirmed by US Senate as Pennsylvania District Court federal judge

Pittsburg, PA, attorney Jagan Nicholas Ranjan has been confirmed by the US Senate as a federal judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Ranjan, 41, whose parents are from India, is currently a partner in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, offices of K&L Gates, where he works on commercial and appellate litigation. He is filling a seat that was vacated in 2016. President Donald Trump nominated Ranjan on July 24, 2018. He underwent a Senate Judiciary hearing Nov. 13, 2018, along with three other jurists.

During the judiciary hearing, Ranjan joined the three other nominees who stated they could not comment on how they would rule on President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

Rajan’s term is expected to begin this August. He was deemed “well-qualified” for the post by the American Bar Association.

The Vetting Room Web site noted that Ranjan has been critical of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who — he believes — has made decisions based on political, rather than judicial factors.

Ranjan has characterized Thomas’s 1991 confirmation hearing — at which attorney Anita Hill testified that she was sexually harassed by the nominee — as “a racist manhunt for Thomas by fiendish political lynchers.” He nevertheless has stated that Thomas’s decisions are “unreasoned, bitterly partisan, and grossly propagandized,” as reported by the Vetting Room, which nonetheless predicted Ranjan would sail through to confirmation.

Ranjan was born in Lancaster, OH and graduated summa cum laude from Grove City College in 2000. He then attended the University of Michigan Law School.

After graduating from law school, Ranjan spent a year at the Office of the Ohio Solicitor General and then clerked for Judge Deborah Cook on the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He then joined the Pittsburgh Office of K&L Gates as an Associate.

Jul 2019

Distinguished professor Debasish Dutta named Chancellor of University of Michigan at Flint

Photo: Prof Debasish Dutta with his wife Fataneh Taghaboni-Dutta

Prof. Debasish Dutta, a distinguished professor of engineering and the former chancellor at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ, has been named the next chancellor of the University of Michigan at Flint.

He will begin a five-year term on Aug 1, the university said.

“I am thrilled to return to the University of Michigan to lead UM-Flint, a campus with exciting possibilities and a special place,” Dutta, who succeeds Susan E. Borrego, said in a statement. “The university has a lot to offer Flint and the region, and vice versa. I look forward to working with faculty, staff, students and the community to improve access, enhance excellence and serve the citizens of the state of Michigan.”

As UM-Flint chancellor, he will serve as the chief executive officer of the Flint campus and also an executive officer of U-M.

Dutta began his career at U-M as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering in 1989 and moved through the ranks to professor in 2000. While at Michigan, he was the director of the College of Engineering’s Program in Manufacturing and the founding director of its Interdisciplinary Professional Programs.

“Dr. Dutta brings a lifetime of academic leadership experience and accomplishment to his new position at the University of Michigan-Flint,” president Mark Schlissel said in a statement. “I welcome him back to Michigan and look forward to working with him and the entire UM-Flint community to advance the university's legacy of educational access, academic strength and service to the region.”

As chancellor of Rutgers’ flagship, land-grant campus, Dutta led a public research university with a $1.6 billion annual budget. His administration brought focus and accountability in key areas, increased research funding, and worked effectively with legislators, business leaders and alumni to create institutional momentum around academic excellence, student success and affordability.

From 2014-17, he served as the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity at Purdue University.

Prior to that, Dutta served as associate provost and dean of the graduate college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2009-14, where he was also the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor and interim vice chancellor for research.

He is an elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and has served as a scholar-in-residence at the National Academy of Engineering.

Dutta holds a doctorate in industrial engineering from Purdue, a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Evansville, and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Jadavpur University in Kolkata.

He is married to Fataneh Taghaboni-Dutta, a clinical professor of business administration in the Gies School of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They have three adult daughters, Anita, Nikita and Maya. 

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