Courtesy of Cornell

Rohit Verma, dean of external relations for the SC Johnson College of Business, will soon leave Sage Hall to become the founding provost of VinUniversity — a startup Vietnamese university that will launch in 2020 with the backing of Cornell.

April 7, 2019

Johnson Dean Rohit Verma Named Founding Provost at Vietnamese University

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Rohit Verma, dean of external relations at the SC Johnson College of Business, is moving on to new frontiers: In July, he will become the founding provost of VinUniversity, a new non-profit university in Vietnam developed by Vietnamese real estate conglomerate VinGroup in partnership with Cornell and other American universities.

“Serving as founding provost for [VinUniversity] provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help establish a world-class university in a fast-growing region of the world,” Verma said in a statement to The Sun. “The strong support from two [Ivy] league universities … gives my confidence that VinUni will be able to become successful in establishing high-quality academic programs.”

Verma is currently the Singapore Tourism Board Distinguished Professor in Asian Hospitality Management at the School of Hotel Administration. Although his new position stations him halfway around the globe, Verma will remain a faculty member in the hotel school on leave of absence.

“I consider myself to be a ‘hotelie-for-life,’” Verma said. “While I am not permanently leaving Cornell … I will most definitely miss my daily interactions with wonderful students, colleagues and friends at Cornell and life at Ithaca.”

Slated to open in the fall of 2020, VinUniversity’s mission is to “to make a breakthrough in the quality of higher education in Vietnam, with the aim towards being a world-class university,” according to the VinGroup’s website.

Cornell entered into a multiyear contract with VinGroup to manage the more education-oriented aspects of VinUniversity, including faculty recruitment, curriculum development and university administration, The Sun previously reported.

Under its agreement with VinGroup, Cornell will advise the startup university until 2024 on the creation of a business college as well as academic programs in engineering, hospitality and real estate, according to a University press release. The University of Pennsylvania will also consult on the creation of nursing and medical colleges.

“The university will have [global] approach, multi-disciplinary curriculum and strong emphasis on real-world including active programs for external engagement,” Verma said.

In a statement to The Sun, Dean of the business college Kevin Hallock said he is “extremely grateful for Rohit’s many contributions to Cornell over the past 13 years.”


“I look forward to learning the progress and development of VinUniversity and wish Rohit the very best in his new role,” Hallock said.