Jul 2019
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. 

Jul 2019

Subhash Kapoor, former Manhattan art dealer, charged with running a $145 million multinational smuggling ring of stolen objects

Subhash Kapoor, a former Manhattan art dealer, has been charged by authorities in New York with trafficking more than $145 million in stolen antiquities from several countries.

Authorities described the case as one of the largest of its kind, saying the conspiracy began more than three decades ago and involved more than 2,600 recovered artifacts, including statues and ancient masterworks, newsreports said.

A criminal complaint filed in Manhattan state court said the smuggling was orchestrated by Kapoor, 70, who was arrested in Germany in 2011 and later extradited to India, where he faces similar charges.

The prosecution involves artifacts stolen from Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Pakistan and other countries that were sold for profit to dealers and collectors around the world. Some of the items appeared in world-renowned museums without officials realizing they were ill-gotten gains.

"These are, in many instances, priceless works that represent the culture and history of the countries from which they were stolen," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. was quoted as saying in newsreports. "They are of enormous value."

The international investigation was called "Operation Hidden Idol."

The US Department of Homeland Security has described Kapoor as "one of the most prolific art smugglers in the world." He faces 86 counts in the criminal complaint, including grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

Kapoor, 70, owned the Art of the Past gallery on Manhattan's Upper East Side, which authorities raided in early 2012.

The criminal complaint says Kapoor went to extraordinary lengths to acquire the artifacts, many of them statues of Hindu deities, and then falsified their provenance with forged documents.

It says Kapoor traveled the world seeking out antiquities that had been looted from temples, homes and archaeological sites.

Some of the artifacts were recovered from Kapoor's storage units in New York.

Prosecutors said Kapoor had the items cleaned and repaired to remove any damage from illegal excavation, and then illegally exported them to the United States from their countries of origin.

"Kapoor would also loan stolen antiquities to major museums and institutions," the complaint says, "creating yet another false veneer of legitimacy by its mere presence in otherwise reputable museums and institutions."

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