Dan Purushotham, born and raised in India, arrived in America in December 1967 in hot pursuit of acquiring computer knowledge. The new technology piqued his interest and at ﬁrst fascinated him until he soon learned that tech was merely a tool rather than an entity unto itself.
Purushotham soon moved on to other things, but through it all kept his deep thirst of knowledge at the forefront. In India, he earned a master’s degree in psychology, and then after moving to the United States earned a master’s in industrial psychology from Springﬁeld College (Mass.), an MBA from the University of Hartford and a doctorate from the University of Connecticut (UConn).
Purushotham has taught in the business schools of several higher education institutions including UConn, Central Connecticut State University and Post University, both as full-time and adjunct faculty. At UConn he has taught in both the MBA and executive MBA programs. He also is on WorldatWork’s faculty.
Your passion for higher education is clear. What are some reﬂections of your teaching experiences?
I’ve always been dedicated to the ﬁeld of education. It’s enriching to teach. Transferring my practical corporate experience to business schools has been smooth. Fortunately, most students understand the reason why they attend college and work very hard. Many of them since leaving school have become high-ranking professionals in their organizations. Teaching can sometimes be challenging also. Not all students have the same thirst for learning.
Do you feel it keeps you youthful, staying among the youth?
Being with young people on a regular basis is a good thing. It keeps one energetic and alert. I often tell my wife, Vasantha, that I don’t want to stop teaching because it keeps my mind active and current with the latest developments in my ﬁeld, especially when changes in all ﬁelds of human endeavor are changing constantly and rapidly.
You enjoy traveling. Where have you visited?
We went to Israel a few years ago and visited beautiful Ireland last year. We also went on a Danube River cruise. Visiting places of musical giants like Mozart and Beethoven was most enjoyable, awe-inspiring and very special to us. Vasantha and I like music a lot. We used to sing a bit. Earlier in 2018 we were in Amsterdam and Belgium. Vasantha’s interest in gardening took us to Amsterdam to see the tulips.
Among our other past destinations are Alaska, Bermuda, Barbados, Turks and Caicos, and Cayman Islands. And, of course, in between we have had trips to India.
That’s an incredible list, especially in the past few years. Do any of them stand out as the best one?
I don’t know if there is a “best one,” but when we think of each one there is something special about each of them, and we have good feelings about all of them.
Anything speciﬁc on the docket coming next? Any unique trips?
We’re planning on going on the Serengeti safari in August 2019. In 2020, we’ve booked to witness the Oberammergau Passion Play in Germany. It takes place every 10 years. The entire village participates in it after many years of preparation, by growing beards to make it appear as authentic as possible. People come from all over the world. When it is staged again in 2030, who knows where we will be?
You’re a learned man of the world and a man of many interests. Is there a charity or cause that’s near and dear to your and your wife’s hearts?
We’re involved with many worthy causes, and in very small ways. It’s not a big splash, but we try to do what we can. These include educational organizations such as The Charter Oak State College Foundation and the University of Hartford, service organizations such as The American Red Cross (Connecticut Blood Services), and the local YMCA. I serve on these boards. The American Leprosy Mission (ALM), in Greenville, South Carolina, is something we’re very much invested in. Although people think leprosy has been eradicated, it is still prevalent in many parts of the world, such as Nepal, India and the Philippines. “Christ cured leprosy, ALM is working on eradicating it”.
Where did your compassion for leprosy patients originate?
There was a surgeon named Dr. Paul Brand who worked in The Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore, India. He and his wife Margaret, an eye surgeon, pioneered in leprosy work throughout the world. He was also a professor in the medical college that has produced many world-renowned medical professionals.
Two of my sisters went to that school; one became a doctor and the other a nurse. Through them we came to know about the Brands. When we came to the U.S., we heard about ALM’s good work around the world, particularly in India. We have been involved with them for some years now. We attend president’s retreats and meet some attendees who have been totally cured of leprosy. It is very heartening to meet such people.
How would you summarize your life and experiences since you retired from the corporate world?
After retirement I am very fortunate to have had experiences full of variety, choice and ﬂexibility. These ingredients make life less stressful and more productive, giving me more control on what happens to me daily. Instead of considering myself as retired, I think of constantly reinventing myself!