Principal and CEO, Serampore College
Achiever's Success Story
Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value
Dr. Vansanglura is a noted educationist and has headed Serampore College, the second oldest college in Asia, since 2015 as its Principal and CEO. In this capacity, he has organised and led the bicentenary celebrations of this hallowed institution that was founded in 1818. In keeping with the mission and vision of the college’s founding fathers, the Serampore Trio, he has always sought to make the college ever better equipped to serve humanity, churches and the society through education and beyond and has also sought to preserve and promote the unique ethos of Serampore College.
Serampore College consists of the Faculty of Arts, Science and Commerce that imparts secular education (affiliated to the University of Calcutta), the Faculty of Theology (that imparts theological education to Christians of non-Catholic denominations) and the Senate of the College (which conducts academic activities, such as examinations, syllabi etc., for theological education across much of South Asia). At the apex is the Council of Serampore College, which grants degrees in the theological branch of education (as described above) under the powers given to it by the Bengal Act IV, 1918. As such, the college is unique mix of the local and the global, the secular and the theological, the specific and the ecumenical.
As Principal and CEO, Dr. Vansanglura has been instrumental in expanding the activities of the institution that help in serving society evermore. Prominent examples of this are the introduction of vocational courses (Faculty of ASC) that help the youth in meeting the needs of the job market and was a crying need in the local society, and in setting up the Bicentenary Centre for Integrated Studies. Apart from these, the college, under his leadership, is implementing projects in conjunction with the West Bengal Pollution Control Board, the West Bengal Biodiversity Board and the West Bengal Zoological Authority – that serve to underline the institution and its leader’s continued commitment towards the legacy of Rev. Dr. William Carey, who was a biologist by training. He also signed ten MOUs within India and abroad including Regent’s Park College, Oxford University, William Carey University, USA and the Royal Ambassador of Denmark to India, New Delhi.
This commitment towards society is also borne out by various social outreach programmes during his tenure. Thus, during the first phase of the pandemic (2020), the college community ran a community kitchen for all needy people in the area twice and also organised relief camps in the aftermath of Amphan (also 2020). A more sustainable intervention has been the setting up of the William Carey Pathshala (2021), a primary school in the remote forest island of Jangalgheri that previously had no schools and is largely funded by the College.
One of the key areas of focus of his tenure has been the preservation and restoration of the built heritage and academic legacy of ‘Serampore and its College’. Thus, he and the college have been actively involved in the various projects aimed at the restoration of the Danish heritage of Serampore town. Within the college, he has been instrumental in starting a project to preserve and digitise the archival material kept in the Carey Library and Research Centre (that has functioned as a treasure trove for researchers over the decades) in association with the Barnabas Fund, Oxford, UK and in starting the renovation of the historic Main Building of the college (established in 1822), with funds secured from the Department of Higher Education, Government of West Bengal. Currently, he is leading the efforts to secure funds to build an auditorium (which is a requirement of both the college and the town) and for the restoration of the other heritage buildings on the campus, namely the Theology Hostel and Carey House.
Dr. Vansanglura had, earlier in his academic career, achieved the difficult dual feat of securing doctorates in both secular and theological education. During his post-doctoral research in Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, his focus was on Gifted Education. This allowed him to bring a very different perspective to the needs and challenges of an academic institution as special as Serampore College. Further, as someone with an INTJ Personality type, commonly known as the ‘Architect’ or the ‘Strategist’, he brings to administrative matters an analytical, intuitive and logical mind that sees solutions where others might only see problems.
He is also a man of deep faith and a committed family man.