Prof. N.R. Shetty was born in Nitte, a remote village in South Canara District, near Karkala on March 27, 1937. His father was a Doctor in Government Hospital. Being in Government Service he used to be transferred often to various Health Centers. Consequently Prof. N.R. Shetty had to study in different schools at different places. He went to a school in Mulki village till his 5 th Standard and then moved to Bantwala for his 6 th and 7 th Standard. Having understood his Son’s keen interest in learning, he admitted his son to Mangalore’s prestigious St. Aloysius School where he continued his studies till 11 th standard. He completed his secondary education (SSLC) with distinction. Despite of this, the Madras Government (Before unification of states South Canara was under the rule of Madras province) denied his admission to Intermediate as the rule existing in those days did not permit due to underage. This made him to shift to Bangalore where he joined the St. Joseph’s College and successfully completed Intermediate. During this period Madras was the only city which had better facilities for higher education. Prof. Shetty moved to Presidency College, Madras to pursue B.Sc (Hons) in Physics. Later he moved to Mangalore to begin the career of teaching in the unified Mysore state. He started his career as a lecturer in Karnataka Regional Engineering College (Now National Institute of Technology), Surathkal. He served this Institute in different capacities from 1960 to 1993 including the position of Principal for more than 5 years. During this period, he secured UNESCO fellowship to do Master’s Degree at the University of ESSEX in United Kingdom. His area of specialization was Opto Electronics which was an emerging research area during that time. He had genuine interest in pursuing his career in research along with teaching. His keen interest in research enabled him to obtain a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in IIT, Bombay.
By recognizing his contribution to Higher Education, Government of Karnataka appointed him as Vice-chancellor of prestigious Bangalore University which was one of the largest Universities in the Country. He had a unique distinction of serving as Vice-chancellor for two Consecutive terms from 1993 to 1999. During this time Prof. Shetty had an opportunity to visit several Countries across the globe as part of expert committee’s constituted by AICTE and UGC. Prof. Shetty has shown interest not only in Science and Technology but also in the disciplined study of Art and Culture. He always believed in documenting intangible heritage so as to preserve the knowledge to the new generation. Prof. Shetty’s endeavor in this regard drew the attention of Government of India and he was appointed as a Member Secretary and Chief Executive of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) at Delhi, which is the premiere Art Institute of Asia for the study of Arts.
As the Chief Executive and Member Secretary of IGNCA, he was instrumental in establishing National Manuscript Mission with the objective of procuring, digitizing and preserving ancient Manuscripts for study and research. In addition to this, he has also established a huge Cultural Informatics Lab at IGNCA to develop software which facilitates the systematic study of ancient texts available in various vernacular languages and also in ancient languages like Pali, Prakrit and Sanskrit. This pioneering work has enabled not only in preserving the ancient knowledge but also disseminating the essence across the Globe. His initiative in documenting oral traditions like Vedic chanting and Ramlila performances got UNESCO recognition and both the traditions were declared as world’s intangible heritage amidst tough competition from various countries, based on the A/v documentaries submitted by IGNCA. Under his leadership IGNCA has produced more than two hundred documentary films on various aspects like heritage sites, ancient architecture, rituals and ethnic medicine.
Prof. N.R. Shetty also served as the Chairman of Regulatory Committee appointed by the Government of Karnataka to oversee the admissions to Professional colleges in the State. Prior to this, he was the President of Indian Society of Technical Education, New Delhi. He was also the Founding President of International Federation of Engineering Education Societies, Washington DC, USA. Prof. N.R. Shetty’s services were also utilized by the Government of India on various occasions. He was appointed as Chairman, National Advisory on Entrepreneurship in Education, Department of Science and Technology. In addition to this he also served as member of standing committee constituted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development for effective co-ordination between Industries and Technical Education for promotion of Vocational Education, Training and Skill Development.
At present he is serving as Chancellor, Central University of Karnataka and as Chairman, Karnataka State Universities Review Commission.
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