At the William Greenleaf Eliot Society banquet April 9, the former dean of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work received the society’s “Search” award.
Shanti K. Khinduka, Ph.D., the George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor, was presented with the society’s top honor by Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton at the 41st annual event, held at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. The evening also featured a keynote address by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.
In a University filled with distinguished leaders, Khinduka stands out. In the 30 years he guided the Brown School, he assembled a first-rate cadre of faculty, built up the school’s endowment and doubled its physical facilities. Most important, Khinduka, building upon the Brown School’s initial strengths, created a school that is acclaimed internationally for its teaching and research.
“As the new dean, hired in 1974 to lead the Brown School forward, Shanti took a very good school and guided it to the top rank of social work education,” Wrighton said. During this period, Wrighton said, the theory and practice of social work and social development education was evolving, and Khinduka embraced the changes and reforms necessary to advance the school and keep it on the cutting edge.
“He has been an inspirational leader not only at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work but also at Washington University, in the St. Louis region and in the national and international spheres of social work and social development,” Wrighton said.
An expert on community and social development and on international social welfare, Khinduka has published widely and has been honored for his achievements and contributions to his field. He founded the Journal of Social Service Research in 1977; he founded the Inter-University Consortium for International Social Development and served as its president; and he was a founding co-chair of the Board of Directors of MERS/Goodwill.
Born in Jaipur, India, Khinduka began his career as an assistant professor of sociology and social work at Lucknow University in Lucknow, India. In 1967, he began teaching at Saint Louis University and served as assistant dean; in 1974, he joined Washington University as dean.
Khinduka earned a bachelor’s degree from Rajasthan University, two master’s degrees in social work — one from Lucknow and another from the University of Southern California — and a doctoral degree in social welfare from Brandeis University.
“Search” awardees receive a replica of “The Search,” a sculpture designed by emeritus professor of art Heikki Seppa. The silver statue represents the endless quest for truth and knowledge.
The Eliot Society, named after the University’s co-founder, was established in 1959. Members of the Eliot Society provide unrestricted leadership support to strengthen Washington University and its mission to serve students and faculty. Each year, every school and its faculty and students benefit from the support of the University’s most generous philanthropists. Currently there are more than 5,000 society members.