As vice provost for university life, Mamta Motwani Accapadi is dedicated to giving students the support they need to thrive.
For all I can remember growing up, I wanted to be a doctor,” says Mamta Motwani Accapadi, which is how she found herself at the University of Texas at Austin, pursuing a degree in microbiology. Yet Accapadi is not a medical doctor. Instead, she earned her Ph.D. in education administration, and is the University of Pennsylvania’s new vice provost for University Life. Accapadi found a healing profession of a different kind as an educator devoted to students’ well being.
The early ambition to pursue medicine was not her own, says Accapadi, but an immigrant dream story that was “a manifestation of my parents.” The journey to reconciling her talents and vocation with family love and filial duty was difficult, and one that centers Accapadi’s work and her compassion for students.
Penn’s University Life division includes 18 departments that serve students’ academic, co-curricular, cultural, financial, personal, pre-professional, and spiritual needs. The work touches on health and wellness, safety, campus engagement, and wide-ranging issues around student success, says Kevin Kruger, president and CEO of NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Kruger has known Accapadi for more than 10 years, describing her as “extraordinarily thoughtful and kind,” praising her work and reputation.