Nasser H. Paydar

Faces of IUPUI: Nasser H. Paydar

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IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar. Photo by Liz Kaye, IU Communications

When IUPUI's fifth chancellor Nasser H. Paydar was just a teenager, his father impressed upon him the need to take his education as far as he could. That education would serve as Paydar's pathway to the future.  

Paydar followed his father's advice, which took him thousands of miles from home to SUNY Buffalo in 1975. He followed his soon-to-be-wife Niloo when he transferred to Syracuse University. Ultimately, he received bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees from Syracuse University from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Chancellor Paydar's IUPUI story started even before he received his Ph.D. from Syracuse.

"In April of 1985, I received an offer from IUPUI to start as an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in Indianapolis," he explained. "I finished my studies in May, took a month off preparing for my first job here, and I arrived in Indianapolis in July of 1985 to start my career at IUPUI."

That career has endured for more than 30 years. As a faculty member, he served as principal and co-principal investigator on research grants from federal and state agencies and private companies, including Cummins Electronics, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center. His research in the area of solid mechanics, with applications in biomechanics and electronic packaging, has been widely published in scientific journals.

In addition, Paydar has held various administrative and executive leadership positions at the university, including serving as vice chancellor and dean of IUPUC and chancellor of IU East where he oversaw dramatic gains in enrollment, first-year retention rates, and graduation rates.

Chancellor Nasser Paydar dances with students at IUPUI's 50th Anniversary Birthday Bash in 2019.
Chancellor Nasser Paydar takes a selfie with the School of Engineering graduating class of 2018.
Former IUPUI Chancellors Charles Bantz and Gerald Bepko at Chancellor Nasser Paydar's installation in 2015.

From top: Chancellor Paydar dances with students at the 50th Anniversary Birthday Bash in January 2019; Chancellor Paydar engages in one of his favorite commencement traditions: taking a selfie with the graduating class, here with the School of Engineering and Technology (2018); (From left) Former IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz, Chancellor Paydar, and former Chancellor Gerald L. Bepko at Chancellor Paydar's installation in 2015. First and last photos by Liz Kaye, IU Communications; second photo courtesy of Chancellor Paydar

In his position as executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer of IUPUI, to which he was appointed in 2012, Paydar led a comprehensive and inclusive strategic planning process. The campus-wide process resulted in the development of IUPUI's current strategic plan, Our Commitment to Indiana and Beyond.

As the fifth chancellor of IUPUI, Paydar has overseen dramatic changes on campus. Since 2015, IUPUI has formed two new independent schools: the School of Health & Human Sciences and the School of Education at IUPUI. IUPUI has dedicated University Hall and North Residence Hall, has constructed two gateways to mark the east edges of our campus, and has broken ground on Innovation Hall, a STEM education and research facility. IUPUI has completed a multimillion-dollar renovation of the Natatorium, considered by some the fastest swimming pool in the world, and has started a major renovation of the Madam Walker Theatre on Indiana Avenue, a project undertaken in partnership with the Madam Walker Board and with support from Lilly Endowment. And in the last year, the campus has also celebrated its 50th Anniversary.

"For fifty years IUPUI has grown into the most comprehensive university campus in the state, offering Indiana University as well as Purdue degrees," he said. "We have graduated more than 210,000 proud jaguars, most of whom are from Indiana and stay in Indiana to live, learn, work, play, and earn. This year, we have taken advantage of the opportunity to tell our countless stories of success, and we look forward to the next fifty years."