Kumara Jayasuriya Named President of Southwest Minnesota State University

Posted: March 20, 2019

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@MinnState.edu, 651-201-1426

ST. PAUL, Minn., Mar. 20, 2019 – The Board of Trustees of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities has named Kumara Jayasuriya to serve as the 10th president of Southwest Minnesota State University. The appointment will become effective July 1, 2019.

Kumara Jayasuriya“Dr. Jayasuriya has the academic credentials, the experience, and the leadership skills required to guide Southwest Minnesota State University into the future,” said Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State. “He also has the personal traits that will allow him to not only identify the tasks ahead, but also to work in a collaborative, authentic, and transparent manner to bring about a shared responsibility among each and every member of the Southwest community and take the university to the next level.”

Dr. Jayasuriya has served as the provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, and a professor of mathematics, at West Virginia State University (WVSU) since 2014.

Under his leadership, WVSU implemented student success initiatives that contributed to an increase in retention. Dr. Jayasuriya forged several international partnerships including a partnership with Ningbo University of Technology in China that enrolls about 100 new students every year in WVSU. Additionally, he worked to create a program that would allow high school students to complete their first year of college, which more than tripled the number of dual-credit students served. He worked closely with college deans, faculty, and staff to establish new academic bachelor’s-level and master’s-level programs in both the arts and the sciences, as well as online programs that are currently serving hundreds of students.

Previously, he served Purdue University-North Central Campus from 2011 to 2014 as associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and professor of mathematics. In this role, he collaborated with other universities to establish statewide articulation agreements, and he worked with deans and faculty to establish new programs including electrical engineering, civil engineering, and history. He also led a team that represented the State of Indiana in the Affinity Network project initiated by the College Board.

He also served Indiana University East (IU East) from 1993 to 2011 in several capacities including as assistant professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics, associate professor and division chair of the Division of Natural Science and Mathematics, and dean of the School of Natural Science and Mathematics. At IU East, he contributed to the creation of a School of Science Advisory Board, collaborated with other Indiana University campuses in establishing systemwide and statewide programming, and provided leadership for all School of Science programs. He also created and implemented a strategic plan for the School of Science.

His many other qualifications include serving as a peer reviewer and an accreditation officer for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colombo, a master’s from Southern Illinois University, and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


Minnesota State includes 30 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 375,000 students. It is the fourth-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States.