Biography of Chancellor Subbaswamy

Kumble SubbaswamyKumble R. Subbaswamy, PhD

Kumble R. Subbaswamy became the 30th leader of UMass Amherst July 1, 2012. He has emerged as a popular and well-regarded chancellor for his pursuit of academic excellence, promotion of research and outreach, and initiatives aimed at addressing campus climate, diversity, and culture.

Chancellor Subbaswamy has overseen the opening of new cutting-edge campus facilities, including Commonwealth Honors College Residential Community, the Integrative Learning Center, the Life Science Laboratories, South College, Worcester Commons the Football Performance Center, and the newly renovated Student Union Building. He has made sustainability a campus priority and is focused on strengthening community relationships, supporting area communities, and increasing access to the university’s rich academic and research resources.

Championing an open and transparent leadership style, Subbaswamy enacted a comprehensive campus-wide strategic planning process to continue to build on the successes of UMass Amherst in the coming years. Under his leadership, the university continues to move up in the national rankings, making the campus one of the fastest rising top-tier public research universities in the country. As part of fortifying the future, Subbaswamy also played a key role in UMass Rising, the $300-million fundraising campaign, the largest in campus history.

Subbaswamy has instituted plans to improve the UMass educational experience by introducing more opportunities for undergraduate research experiences and integrative and team-based learning. His priority is also to increase the enrollment of students from low-income communities. Under his tenure, the campus’s status as a research powerhouse that touches— and often transforms—communities in the state and around the world continues to grow.

A physicist by training, and an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Subbaswamy has spent almost his entire professional life at public research universities. Before coming to Amherst, he served as provost at the University of Kentucky since 2006. A physicist, he joined Kentucky’s faculty in 1978 after serving as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Irvine. During his first 18 years at the University of Kentucky, he served as associate dean of arts and sciences and as chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

In other administrative positions, Subbaswamy was also dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami from 1997 to 2000. Then he left to become dean of arts and sciences at Indiana University Bloomington, serving until 2006 when he moved to Kentucky. He holds a bachelor’s degree in science from Bangalore University, a master’s in physics from Delhi University, and a PhD in physics from Indiana University. He was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1989. His primary research area is the optical properties of novel materials and nonlinear excitations. He has published more than 60 articles and coauthored a book on the local density theory of polarizability.