Sohail Agboatwala, who came to Troy University almost 30 years ago as an international student himself, will now help lead the University’s international operations.
Effective Dec. 1, Agboatwala will take on the role of associate vice chancellor of international operations, directing recruitment and enrollment and study abroad, as well as interfacing between the University and federal agencies governing international education. Dr. Curt Porter, associate vice chancellor for international affairs, has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31, and will return to the University in February in the part-time capacity of senior international officer.
“January will mark my 30th year in Troy,” said Agboatwala, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1991 and a Master of Business Administration in 1993 from TROY. “What I found when I came here was that by reaching out to people, meeting with people and talking to them and giving them the opportunity to reach out to you, you develop an appreciation for others and it allows you to overcome the apprehension of being in a new and different place.”
Agboatwala said there were far fewer international students when he first arrived on campus.
“There were 42 international students from 39 countries when I first came to TROY,” he said. “This was before the internet, so there wasn’t the same amount of exposure to or apprehension about the rest of the world. We had great opportunities to mingle and work with the domestic students.”
Agboatwala credited the work of former Chancellor Dr. Ralph Adams and current Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., for building TROY into Alabama’s International University.
“It is truly amazing to see what Troy University has grown into today,” he said. “What TROY has done under Dr. Hawkins’ leadership, and Dr. Adams before him, is to open this University and the City of Troy up to the world. I am hopeful that, building on the foundation that has been laid, we can continue to help our international students transition to life here and overcome the apprehension so that they have a good experience and become our best ambassadors going forward.”
Agboatwala has served in numerous leadership roles at TROY, something that University leaders believe makes him the perfect fit for the new position. Since 2010, he has served as associate vice chancellor for student financial services. He also has served the University has associate vice chancellor for business services, director of auxiliary services and student activities, director of academic support services for student-athletes, graduate assistant for academic support for football student-athletes and an adjunct instructor.
“Mr. Agboatwala brings a wealth of knowledge and experience within Troy University that will serve this new position well,” said Dr. Earl Ingram, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. “He also brings the unique perspective of having come to TROY as an international student himself.”
In addition to his degrees from TROY, Agboatwala also holds a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Alabama. An active part of the Troy community, Agboatwala is a member of the Rotary Club, the Exchange Club, a volunteer youth soccer coach and the Troy University Alumni Association.
The educational opportunity was what brought Agboatwala to Troy, but he said his decision to stay in the community was simple.
“People ask me all the time, why Troy? The answer is very simple – the people.”