Founder of Gandhi Mahavidyalaya

Gandhi Mahavidyalaya was founded by Dr. Jagadish Shukla, Distinguished University Professor and founding chairman of the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Scinces, College of Science, George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax, Virginia, USA, and President of the Institute of Global Environment and Society (IGES).

J. Shukla was born in 1944 in village Mirdha in the Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh, India. This village had no electricity, no roads or transportation, and no primary school. Most of his primary education was received under a large banyan tree until his father established a primary school in the village. He passed high school from S.R.S. High School, Sheopur, in 1958 with distinction in Mathematics and Sanskrit. He was unable to study science in high school because none of the schools near his village included science education. His father, the late Shri Chandra Shekhar Shukla who was headmaster of a middle school nearby in village Shukhpura, insisted that he read all the science books for classes 6 through 10 during the summer before he was to begin the eleventh grade in science at S.C. College, Ballia. After passing the twelfth grade from the S.C. College, Ballia, he went to Banaras Hindu University (BHU) where in 1962, he passed B.Sc. (honors) with Physics, Mathematics, and Geology, and in 1964 M.Sc. in Geophysics. He received Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Geophysics from BHU (1971) and Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) in Meteorology from MIT (1976).

In 2008, he was appointed by the Governor of Virginia as a member of the Commission on Climate Change. He was one of the Lead Authors of the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the Noble Peace Prize with Vice President Gore. In 2007, he received the International Meteorological Organization (IMO) Prize, considered to be the highest prize in meteorology in the world. In 2005, he received the Rossby Medal, considered the highest medal of the AMS in the USA; in 2001, he received the Walker Gold Medal, considered the highest medal of IMS in India; in 1982 he received the Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal of NASA, the highest medal given by NASA to a civilian.

He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the American Meteorology Society, India Meteorology Society and an Associate Fellow of TWAS (the academy of sciences for the developing world). He is the author/co-author of 200 scientific papers and the editor/contributor of four books. He has been the Ph. D. thesis adviser for about 20 students at M.I.T., Univ. of Maryland, and GMU. His research has established that there is predictability in the midst of chaos and that there is a scientific basis for short-term climate prediction. He was instrumental in establishing research centers in India and Italy. He started the Climate Dynamics Ph.D. program at GMU. He has served as the chair/member of about 50 national/international panels and committees.

J. Shukla has three brothers (Mahendra, Kanhaiya and Shriram Shukla), and two sisters (Bimla Pandey and Subhadra Upadhyay). It was one of the last wishes of his mother, the late Shrimati Sita Devi, who could barely read and write her name, that a college for the education of rural girls be established in the village.