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Hello, Rahul Shrivastav. Meet Rahul Shrivastav. Indiana University has 2 in leadership roles.

·2 min read
Executive Director of Indiana University Dining Rahul Shrivastav, left, and IU Provost Rahul Shrivastav greet each other in the provost's office Feb. 24. The men said it was the first time they had seen each others' faces as they shook hands.
Executive Director of Indiana University Dining Rahul Shrivastav, left, and IU Provost Rahul Shrivastav greet each other in the provost's office Feb. 24. The men said it was the first time they had seen each others' faces as they shook hands.

Will the real Rahul Shrivastav please stand up?

At Indiana University, the question would prompt two employees to rise from their chairs.

Who is the IU provost?

Rahul Shrivastav is IU's new provost for the Bloomington campus.

Who is in charge of IU dining?

Another Rahul Shrivastav has already made an impression on the university. For the past five years, he has been at the helm of IU Dining as its executive director.

No, they're not the same guy

The coincidence has led to some confusion over the years. When the food-oriented Shrivastav began leading IU Dining, Provost Shrivastav's friends reached out to congratulate him. "'We thought you had changed careers,'" the new provost recalled friends saying. At the time, he was vice president for instruction at the University of Georgia, where he continued to work until being hired by IU.

Since starting his new job in Bloomington, he's received other emails meant for the man who shares his name.

More in news: Bloomington officials examine annexation paperwork while deciding whether to go to court

"I think he's got a couple of emails on moving food service equipment around," the IU dining director said of the new provost. "I had a couple of emails (about) meetings that I was like, 'Wait, I should not really be in these meetings, because it's very high level.' Then I realized that it's not for me, and I'd write back to them that, 'Hey, I think you're looking for the provost.'"

According to both men, the name is not exactly ubiquitous in their home country of India. "It's not like the names are as common as 'John Smith,'" Provost Shrivastav said.

The dining director comes from the northeast of India, while the provost hails from elsewhere in the country. The food service executive went to school a few hundred meters away from where the provost's grandparents lived, though in different years. The provost rode his bicycle through the area as a child.

The men both came to call Bloomington and Indiana University home and have great affection for the community. The provost earned his doctoral degree at IU, where his wife, Mini, was in the same program. He then worked at Michigan State and Georgia universities before returning to the local campus.

Executive Director of Indiana University Dining Rahul Shrivastav, left, and Indiana University Provost Rahul Shrivastav share a laugh Feb. 24 in the Bloomington provost's office.
Executive Director of Indiana University Dining Rahul Shrivastav, left, and Indiana University Provost Rahul Shrivastav share a laugh Feb. 24 in the Bloomington provost's office.

The dining director said he knows he was meant to be in Bloomington. In addition to his affection for IU students and staff, the director was thrilled by the welcome he received.

"The way this community welcomed me was amazing and I'm sure they're doing the same for Provost Shrivastav," dining director Shrivastav said.

Ultimately, IU Dining's Shrivastav hopes people on the campus will acclimate to the presence of two Rahul Shrivatavs.

"I think he'll be known across campus pretty easily as Provost Shrivastav, then we'll call me Rahul."

Contact Patrick McGerr at pmcgerr@heraldt.com, 812-307-5636, or follow @patrickmcgerr on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: IU provost and dining director both named Rahul Shrivastav