Dr Manjit Singh Kang is a scientist with broad vision, cosmopolitan outlook and a humanistic approach. A man in the street knows him as a soft-spoken and humane person. Before going into his contributions at various levels, it would be worthwhile to have a quick look at his qualifications, positions held and the published work.He completed his graduation from PAU in agriculture and animal husbandry in 1968. As a student here at the University, he showed a keen interest in English and took part in such activities as could improve his written and spoken expression of the language. For his higher studies, he went to the USA and got his Master’s degree in Plant Genetics from the Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville in 1971. He obtained MA in Botany from the Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, USA in 1977 and Ph.D in Crop Science (Genetics & Plant Breeding) from the University of Missouri-Columbia, USA in 1977.He started his career as Research Associate at the Washington University, Saint Louis, USA in 1977. He served as Research Station Manager with Cargill Inc. for two years and then joined the University of Missouri Columbia as Plant Breeder in 1980. He worked as Assistant Professor in the University of Florida during 1981-86. He joined as Associate Professor at the Louisiana State University in 1986 and was promoted to Professor in the same university in 1990. Thus he has the coveted honour of serving many prestigious American universities. His professional career reached a crescendo by 2007, when he was appointed the Vice- Chancellor of PAU, a notable achievement for a student from the same university. During his long illustrious career, Dr Kang has made outstanding contributions in the field of Plant Breeding and Quantitative Genetics. He has authored/edited several books. He has contributed 35 book chapters and encyclopedia essays in his field of specialization. He has more than 110 refereed articles and 136 other publications to his credit. In all these writings, he has dealt with various themes pertaining to Quantitative Genetics and crop improvement. Besides, he has guided seven Ph.D and six M.Sc. students in their research work and served on dozens of advisory committees for M.Sc. and Ph.D students.He has provided outstanding leadership in his profession and organized many national and international conferences. He has won many honours and professional awards, such as Fellow of American Society of Agronomy, Fellow of Crop Science of America and a U.S. Fullbright Senior Scholar to Malaysia in 1999. He is a Sigma XI (Scientific Research Society) Distinguished Lecturer (2007-2009). English was one of the subjects which received his attention throughout his tenure as Vice-Chancellor. He strongly felt that students of the University must acquire a sound knowledge of English in order to do better in their respective professions. While inaugurating French Literary Club at PAU, he said “Learning well languages like English and French has become important for career growth, specially in the era of globalization.” Consequently, he took a number of measures, including setting up the language lab, to strengthen the teaching of languages at PAU, specially that of English and French.Though Dr Kang has spent abroad a major part of his life, he seems to be an ardent supporter of Indian culture, an important value of which stands for due respect for teachers and elders. Consequently, he is all praise for and often makes respectful references to the teachers who had taught him at PAU, way back in 1960s. Many students of the University took note of this healthy practice and valuable tradition and try to emulate his example. With his administrative accomplishments and extraordinary achievements in research Dr Kang provided an able leadership to the University. During his term of four years he aimed at addressing the issues facing the state’s agriculture with the approach of a humanist and skill of a scientist. Undoubtedly, it was this humanistic approach that made him win hearts of many employees of the University and members of the farming community and earn the respect of one and all.Soon after taking over the reins of PAU in 2007, he strove to bring about academic excellence, give a better direction to agricultural research and to raise the University to an enviable position. It goes to his credit that PAU was given the first International Potash Institute (Switzerland) and Fertilizer Association of India (IPI-FAI) Award for transfer of technology in balanced use of fertilizers, in the year 2010. Dr. Kang relinquished charge at the end of his term on April 30, 2011. He is, at present, leading a retired life at Ludhiana.
The Author of this article is Harpreet Kaur Bains who is a PAU teacher.
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