Balwant N. Dixit, Ph.D.
559 Salk Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Phone (412) 963-8023 (res)
(412) 648-8582 (office)
Fax (412) 648-8475
Balwant Narayan Dixit was born in a small village in India. After completing his high school education in 1949, he entered Fergusson College. His goal was to become a physician. His plans changed, however, when, in 1949 his father died suddenly. He instead trained as a custom tailor to help support his education. While running his own business, he earned two B.S. degreesone in biology and one in industrial chemistryand an M.S. degree in biochemistry. Dixit then accepted a position as a research assistant in pharmacology at Baroda Medical College. For six years he worked with a team of investigators evaluating the therapeutic effectiveness of several indigenous medical herbal preparations. Dixit continued his education and was awarded an M.S. degree in Pharmacology. Immediately following that in 1962, Dixit was offered a senior fellowship by the International Union of Physiological Sciences to conduct research in Pharmacology in the United States, and was appointed International Fellow in Pharmacology in the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. Within three years, Dixit completed the requirements for a Ph.D. and in 1965 joined the faculty of the School of Pharmacy as an assistant professor. In 1969, he was appointed assistant chairman and in 1973 he was selected to chair the Department of Pharmacology. While chair, in collaboration with Union Carbide, Dixit initiated a Ph.D. program in Toxicology. In 1976, Dixit was appointed interim dean of the School of Pharmacy. During his three-year tenure as acting dean, Dixit reorganized programs in the School of Pharmacy and established the Departments of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmaceutics, as well as a program in Clinical Pharmacokinetics, a Drug Information Center, and a full service pharmacy in the Student Health Service. In addition, Dixit has served as Associate Dean for graduate studies and research, Director of Affirmative Action, Director of animal care facilities and Director of Continuation Education in the School of Pharmacy. In 1982, Dixit was selected, by the faculty and the alumni of the School of Pharmacy for its Distinguished Alumnnus Award. Currently, Dixit is a professor of pharmacology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy.
Dixit has been active in university governance and has served on numerous school wide and university wide committees, including the graduate council. Currently he is an elected member of the University Senate Council, the Faculty Assembly and the Secretary of the Senate Budget Policies Committee.
Since his college years, Dixit had a strong interest in the performing arts, and soon after his arrival in Pittsburgh in 1962 he was instrumental in establishing the India Association of Pittsburgh. Then in 1985, Dixit coordinated all classical music programs for the Festival of India in U.S.A. Subsequently, Dixit established the Center for the Performing Arts of India as an exchange agreement between the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the University of Pittsburgh. Since then, each year the Center has been inviting leading Indian classical musicians who visit various universities and colleges throughout the United States to present concerts, workshops and lecture demonstrations. The Center has become nationally recognized for the quality of its programs and its organization. For his work in promoting the performing arts of India, Dixit has received the following awards: (1) Distinguished Service Award of the Asian Studies Program of the University of Pittsburgh. (2) Pride of India Award of the Indian American Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, presented by the Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh. (3) Lifetime Recognition Award presented by the University of Nebraska organization RAAG, and (4) the title of Kala Vipanchee, presented by Padmavibhushan Balmuralikrishna, at a special function held at the Madras Music Academy in 1999, and (5) Award of Excellence presented by the Brihan Maharashtra Mandal of North America at their national convention at Calgary, Canada in 2001.
Dixit is married to Vidya Ghanekar of Pune, and she has played a very significant role in the success of the Center.