For the last forty years JNU has constantly involved in new directions in its pursuit of excellence. It has been fortunate in having Vice-Chancellors of dynamic and vision who have steered the University towards growing responsibilities and challenges. The initial tasks as envisaged by Shri G.Parthasarathi, the first Vice-Chancellor (1969-74) and a man of rare leadership qualities, have been carried out by a series of distinguished men who led the JNU community with confidence and imagination A brief sketch of their activities follows :
Parthasarathi, G. (28 April 1969-27 April 1974) - A journalist turned diplomat of repute who played key advisory roles over three decades, spanning the eras from Nehru to Rajiv Gandhi became the first Vice-Chancellor of this University in 1969 and left the indelible mark as an educationist by helping this University flourish as a premier institution of inter-disciplinary studies and researches. He completed his term as Vice-Chancellor in April, 1974
Nagchaudhuri, Basanti Dulal ( 1 July 1974 - 1 Jan 1979 ) - An eminent academician and physicist (Nuclear Physics) who served this country as Member of the Planning Commission and also as Scientific Advisor to the Ministry of Defense, Dir. Gen. Of defense Research and development, Govt. of India, helped this University grow further in the capacity of its Vice-chancellor during the period.
Narayanan, Kacheril Raman (3 Jan 1979 - 14 Oct 1980 ) - Held the position of the President of the Republic of India. He succeeded Prof. Nagchaudhuri as the vice-chancellor of this University and remained in the seat till a career diplomat who served the country as ambassador to various countries like Thailand, Turkey and China, having started his career as an academician and later as a journalist (briefly) reached the highest seat of the Republic after a brief stint as a Member of Parliament.
Nayudamma, Yelavarthy (12 June 1981- 27 Oct 1982 ) - A distinguished Scientist, headed Central Leather research Inst,Madras and was the director general, CSIR, New Delhi before taking up the responsibility of vice-Chancellorship of this University in 1981.
Srivastava, P.N. (5 March 1983 - 30 Apr 1987) - An eminent Scientist (Life Sciences) and one of the key architects of the National Policy of education (1986) as well as main proponent of the concept of autonomous colleges, was the fifth Vice-chancellor of the University . During his tenure the University witnessed the change in admission policies and started the centralised entrance examinations. Later, he became the Member of Planning Commission, Govt. of India.
Agwani, M.S. ( 7 Oct1987 - 6 Oct 1992 ) - An academician and expert in West Asian affairs, had long association with this University and played an active role in establishing the Center of West Asian Studies in the University. He succeeded Prof. P.N. Srivastava as the Vice-Chancellor of the University . He strived to create an environment in which the faculty and students could give their best.
Alagh, Yoginder K. ( 14 Dec 1992 -28 June 1996) - An eminent economist, educationist and Government Policy Advisor who has now become the Member of the Rajya Sabha (since November 1996) served the country as Minister of State for Planning and Technology and also power. He became the Seventh Vice-Chancellor of this University . He headed various institutions and Commissions and acted as expert with a number of UN organisations. He was also the Member of Planning Commission, Govt. of India.
Datta, Asis (29 June 1996 - 30 April 2002) - An eminent Molecular Biologist and Educationist, recipient of "Padma Shree" award in 1999. He is the recipient of Indira Gandhi "Priyadarshini Award" and "Third World Academy of Sciences".
Chadha, G. K. (1 May 2002 - 6 June 2005) - An eminent academician and an economist, who has been appointed a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council. He was also represented on the Consultants’ panel with the Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi; Indian Planning Commission, International Labour Organisation, New Delhi Regional Office, besides being a life member of all academic associations in Economics. He was the Ninth Vice-Chancellor of this University.
Bhattacharya, B. B. (29th June 2005 - 27th January 2011) - An eminent economist and educationist is a leading expert on economic modeling and forecasting. He has held many distinguished positions such as Director of Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi. He has served as Chairman/Member of many important Government of India commissions and committees and in educational institutions. He is the member of the Supervisory Board of Foundation for Innovation Politics in Paris. He is recipient of many awards and honors such as Government of France’s Order de Palms Academiques, Bank of Baroda’s Sun Lifetime Achievement Award, Kalidasa Samman, Socrates Award by European Business Council and Mother Teresa Lifetime Achievement Award etc. He was the Tenth Vice Chancellor of the University.
Sopory, S. K. (28th January 2011 - 27th January 2016) - An eminent scientist and educationist began his academic career in the year 1973 as a faculty at the School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Prof. Sopory has been awarded various National and International Awards for his pioneering contributions to Scientific Research and Teaching. Notable among them are: prestigious Bhatnagar Award of CSIR; Chakravorty Award; Birbal Sahni Medal of the Botanical Society; Birbal Sahni Birth Centenary Award of Indian Science Congress; Godnev Award Lecture of Belarus Academy of Sciences and Padma Shri, Government of India. He is an elected Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy (New Delhi); Indian Academy of Sciences (Bangalore); National Academy of Sciences (Allahabad); National Academy of Agricultural Sciences(New Delhi) and The World Academy of Sciences (Trieste, Italy). He has also been awarded Corresponding Membership Award of American Society for Plant Biology, 2010, the first time to an Indian. He was the Eleventh Vice Chancellor of the University.