Abhaya Kumar talks about his business, academic and philanthropic endeavors in RJI’s studio at the Missouri School of Journalism

Abhaya Kumar, a first-generation industrialist from Chennai who’s now chairman of one of India’s largest biotech companies, has made a significant contribution to Alfred Friendly Press Partners that will fund fellowships for rising-star journalists from India in 2018 and 2019.

The first Abhaya Kumar Fellow will join the 2018 Class in March. The six-month fellowship involves a month of training at the Missouri School of Journalism and five months of training as a working reporter in a U.S. newsroom.

Alfred Friendly Press Partners President Randy Smith called Kumar’s contribution “a dynamic investment in journalism education. Like Nelson Mandela, we believe education is the most powerful way to change our world. In the last two years, two former Alfred Friendly fellows have shared in Pulitzer Prizes. Abhaya Kumar’s gift will not only help uplift future journalists at Auronya College, but will provide critical knowledge to India’s dynamic population, the world’s largest democracy.”

Kumar is a chemical engineer who founded Shasun Pharmaceuticals Ltd (now Strides Shasun). He’s the chairman of LifeCell, which provides comprehensive stem cell solutions and is the world’s second-largest provider of umbilical cord stem cells. He also has more than a dozen years of experience in managing educational institutions and shaping them. He founded the Shasun College for Women in Chennai and is directing the launch of a new institution of higher education in Pondicherry, Auronya College, which opens in 2018 and will focus on liberal arts and sciences.

Alfred Friendly Press Partners invited a professor from Auronya College, Binayak Bhattacharya, to join the other eight 2017 Fellows for the midterm training sessions of the Missouri School of Journalism in late June and early July.


Binayak Battacharya, far left, joined the midterm training at Missouri School of Journalism to learn more about investigative journalism skills and practices