“Memorable teachers help us understand who we are in the midst of a complex, interconnected world.” That statement, from an interview in the Fall 2002 issue of Education About Asia, succinctly describes Sharada Nayak. For over 35 years, she welcomed American educators, including those affiliated with St. Lawrence’s study program there, to India as director of the Educational Resource Center and later as executive director of the United States Educational Foundation (the Fulbright Program) in India. Today she runs the Educational Resource Center, her own foundation, in Delhi, from which she leads discussions and encourages programs about diversity at Indian universities.
According to the aforementioned interview, students and scholars arriving in India “knew they were in caring and competent hands when Sharada greeted them at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Airport.” Generations of St. Lawrence students and faculty have been among those she has welcomed to her country, and the University, in turn, has welcomed her to its own campus. “She has probably done more good for advancing the scholarly interchange between India and the U.S. than almost anyone else,” says St. Lawrence’s Dana Professor of Religious Studies and president-elect of Naropa University Thomas Coburn.
For her care and concern for all peoples, for her commitment to intercultural education, and especially for the many kindnesses she has shown to Laurentians over the years, St. Lawrence is honored to present Sharada Nayak with the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters.