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Fulfilling his father's promise set alumna Nasser Peider on his path to becoming a leader in higher education

How much are you willing to sacrifice to make your dreams come true?

When Nasser Paydar ’79, G’81, G’85 was about to graduate from high school in Iran, his father, Hossein, made the ultimate sacrifice to bring his beloved son to success. Hossein took care of his family and worked hard to support them, but he lamented his lack of a college degree and didn’t want his son to get in the way of achieving his goals. was

One night, as Nasser was finishing his high school studies, a father and son set him on a path that would change Nasser’s life forever and open the doors of higher education not only to Nasser but to countless other students. We had a conversation. .

Despite knowing there was a good chance he would never see his son again, Hossein put him on a plane and sent him over 6,300 miles around the world to Syracuse to study mechanical engineering at Syracuse University. rice field.

Nasser Paydar ’79, G’81, G’85, New Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education

From these humble beginnings, Payder has gone on to great success in higher education, carving out an illustrious career and being respected on college campuses, including serving as President of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Indiana University East. I have spent nearly 50 years as a leader. , and Vice President of Indiana University (IU).

Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Payder would be appointed to the U.S. Department of Education’s Assistant Secretary for Higher Education, completing a process that began when President Joseph L. Biden Jr. nominated him in 1968. .

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve our country and to serve our students and universities in this capacity. I really think we can make a difference,” said Paydar, who took on his new role on Monday.

keep a promise to my father

It’s the culmination of a promise Pader made to his father nearly 50 years ago. On that fateful night, when Payder faced an uncertain future in a foreign country, his father made him commit to “going through” his education.

“I know it must have been hard for my father, but I am eternally grateful to him. He taught me the value and importance of higher education. was so important to him that he was willing to risk never seeing his child again. I have dedicated my life to helping you get a degree in Computer Science and Computer Science.

Making higher education more accessible

While at Syracuse University, Peder says he experienced the highlight of his life. That is how he met his current wife, his Niloo ’80, G’83. The couple has two children, both of whom are PhDs. Omeed and Naveed.

Payder was not only a fervent believer in the power of higher education, but she inspired her children in an equally important way. [head men’s basketball coach] Jim Boeheim ’66, G’73,” says Paydar.

Years later, Payder knows his father is proud to see the work Nasser has done to open the doors of higher education to as many people as possible.

“I owe my education at Syracuse University and the sacrifices my father made. The faculty at Syracuse was like family to me. It has taught me how to work well, how to work with partners, and these are the skills I need for leadership positions and skills that work for me today,” said Peder, who served on the board of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. say.

Honorary Rector of IUPUI, Paydar was also Vice Rector and Chief Academic Officer of IUPUI. He served on IU faculty for over 36 years, including Dean of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Vice Dean of Graduate Programs, Vice Dean of Academic Programs, and Vice Dean. He was also Vice Chancellor and Dean of Indiana University-Purdue University-Columbus.