Prof. Samuel Paul (1930-2015) was born on April 11, 1930 in Kerala. He obtained a doctorate in Economics from Syracuse University and worked for some time in New Delhi before joining the Institute in 1963. He was a member of the second batch of faculty members to be recruited by the Institute, and soon after he joined he was sent to Harvard for the one-year International Teachers’ Programme. He became Director in September 1972, and accepted a second term in 1977 on the condition that he would be free to leave whenever he felt it was time to leave; less than a year into his second term, he decided to step down. He went on leave for two years to work outside India. He returned in 1981, but finally resigned in 1984.
Dr. Paul is credited with strengthening the traditions of faculty governance and academic autonomy established by Prof. Matthai. This meant two things: new initiatives that directors reported were actually activities championed and nurtured by individual faculty members or groups of faculty members, and that had the collective approval of the faculty members. This feature has been a key characteristic of IIMA culture. Second, the gestation periods experienced by these initiatives were usually long, since deliberations took time and the champions had to be persistent. Some examples of these faculty-driven initiatives were an innovative programme for ‘young executives’, called the Management Education Programme launched in 1975-76; the consolidation of a number of public policy and management-oriented initiatives into a ‘Public Systems Group’; and the creation of a Computer and Information Systems Group to reflect the growing importance of computing.
Dr. Paul created the position of Dean, to assist the Director in “planning” and invited Prof. Dwijendra Tripathi to be the first Dean. It was during Prof. Paul’s tenure that the faculty discussed the need for an IIMA journal, and Vikalpa was launched in 1976, with Prof. Udai Pareek as the first editor. Dr. Paul also oversaw the transition from an institute-run admission test for the PGP to the “Common Admission Test”—the well-known CAT; the first CAT was held jointly by the Indian Institutes of Management at Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Bengaluru, in January 1977, for the 1977 intake.
Most of the buildings in the academic block that exist on the Old Campus today—including the iconic Louis Kahn Plaza which was inaugurated with the 1974 convocation and the “Harvard Steps”—were either completed or initiated during Dr. Paul’s tenure.
Early-1974 was a bad time for the Institute—Gujarat was rocked by the Navnirman student agitation; high inflation and a difficult economic environment were contributing to social unrest. For some time, a premature closure of the classes of the graduating class of 1974 seemed to be a distinct possibility, but under Dr. Paul’s leadership, the Institute managed to complete the programme. It was during Dr. Paul’s time that the labour militancy that had come to mark the 1970s’ environment also entered the campus. Troubles with the staff union that had been simmering for some time came to the surface; Dr. Paul did try to address these issues but problems with the union persisted well into the 1990s.
After he left the Institute, Dr. Paul worked at the World Bank for six years; he returned to India in 1991 and became known for his pioneering work on Citizen Report Cards and with the Public Affairs Centre in Bengaluru. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2004. Dr. Paul passed away on October 26, 2015.