Kavita Khory ’84 to lead the McCulloch Center

Politics professor Khory, an expert in migration, international security and South Asia, will lead Mount Holyoke’s McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives.

Kavita Khory ’84, Ruth Lawson Professor of Politics, has been named the new Carol Hoffmann Collins Director of the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives at Mount Holyoke College. 

She follows Eva Paus, the current Carol Hoffmann Collins Director of the McCulloch Center, who is stepping down after serving as the center’s founding director for 15 years. The appointment is effective July 1, 2019. 

Mount Holyoke established the McCulloch Center in 2004 in order to implement a key strategic priority: internationalization of the entire College community. It quickly emerged as a profound force on campus for students, faculty, staff and alumnae. The McCulloch Center creates and fosters a vast array of educational programs, such as classes, conferences, lectures, internships, study-abroad programs and more, with the goal of developing knowledgeable leaders and responsible citizens of the global community. 

“Kavita brings an incredible breadth of knowledge and experience to this position. She has long been a leader on campus and we are very excited for the vision she has for the center’s future,” said Jon Western, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty. “She is the perfect person to follow Eva’s extraordinary efforts to found and run the McCulloch Center.” 

The announcement is welcomed, said Paus, who is also a professor of economics. Mount Holyoke will be celebrating the McCulloch Center and her legacy of leadership in the coming weeks. 

“I am delighted to hand the reins to my colleague and friend, Kavita Khory,” Paus said. “Kavita is committed to helping the Mount Holyoke community grow in intercultural competence and global knowledge, and to giving students opportunities to engage the world with purpose. The combination of her research focus — migration and diaspora — her rich, lived experiences in and outside the United States, her deep understanding of our community and her interdisciplinary outlook will make her an excellent director of the McCulloch Center.” 

Under Paus’ leadership, the McCulloch Center’s initiatives and programs have greatly enriched the intellectual life of the College and transformed the way Mount Holyoke thinks about the curriculum, study-abroad programs and internships, Khory said. 

“Eva and her colleagues have beautifully integrated the different components of a liberal arts education that is truly global in scope,” she said. “What makes Mount Holyoke such an exciting place to teach and learn is the international diversity of its students and faculty.” 

That diversity — nearly 30 percent of the student body holds citizenship in countries other than the U.S. — offers a powerful and exciting context for building global competence, Khory noted. 

“As a former international student and now a faculty member, I am delighted to have this opportunity to continue the crucial work of the center and build on its many successes,” she said. “I am very much looking forward to working with colleagues and students at the McCulloch Center and across campus.” 

Khory’s research interests extend around the world. A recognized scholar of migration and nationalism, with a focus on South Asia, she is also an expert on international security in South Asia, and on U.S. policy in Pakistan and throughout the region. She is currently working on a comparative study of refugee politics in South Asia. Khory served as the McCulloch Center’s acting director from 2009 to 2010. 

A gifted teacher as well as scholar, Khory is cited by students as “mind-blowing,” “challenging,” “eye-opening” and “brilliant” — and the professor “you have to take before you graduate.” When she won the College's Faculty Award for Teaching in 2017, the citation read in part, “Kavita Khory pushes our students’ understanding of global politics in ways that do justice to our diverse community and that prepare our students to engage in the international debates that shape the world into which they step upon graduation. Perhaps as one of our most distinguished alumnae, she is especially prepared to do so.” 

Khory joined Mount Holyoke in 1990 after receiving her Ph.D. and master’s degree from the University of Illinois. She has simultaneously served as the chair of both the politics and international relations departments, making her the first woman to chair the international relations department at Mount Holyoke. 

Sasha Nyary