By Shannon Peterson
From the first day of class, I knew that Dr. Biswas cared about his students.
As a political science undergraduate venturing into international economic waters, my international and development economics course with Basudeb Biswas was a bit intimidating. However, Dr. Biswas had a talent of disseminating complex and abstract material in a way that was applicable to real-world problems and dilemmas. More than that, he had patience.
Dr. Biswas’s number one priority was ensuring students learn, even if that meant reviewing material endless times for befuddled political science students. I had a budding interest in all things international, and Dr. Biswas was the first person to really open up the world of economics for me. He also exemplified the type of professor that I one day wished to be: one that valued scholarship and academics but who also took a personal interest in the learning and lives of his students.
Now, as a professor of international economics, I can clearly see the legacy of excellence and caring that Dr. Biswas has left behind, both at Utah State and around the world. Dr. Frank Caliendo, who is also a professor of economics at USU and a former student of Dr. Biswas, said that Dr. Biswas’s willingness to help students was unsurpassed.
“There is nobody who can compete with Dr. Biswas in this category,” Dr. Caliendo said. “He was known to call his students at home and ask them why they were not in class; and if the students were willing, he would spend one-on-one time with them to help them catch up to the rest of the pack. When his students fell behind, it bothered him deeply at a personal level.”
Dr. Caliendo also worked with Dr. Biswas as a graduate student. “Dr. Biswas was a model of emotional support for his students,” Dr. Caliendo said. “He took a personal interest in their lives and circumstances.”
I recently spoke with the head of the Islamic International Arab Bank in Jordan about Dr. Biswas. Sitting at a small table within a bustling, noisy Amman restaurant, Tayseer Al-Smadi remembered when Dr. Biswas was his teacher at USU.
Dr. Al-Smadi reflected warmly on his times at Utah State and on the mentoring relationships he had with his professors. Listening to him speak, I marveled at the countless individuals whom Dr. Biswas has helped around the world who are, in turn, now shaping the countries within which they live.
The good news is that even though Dr. Biswas has retired from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, his legacy will continue. Dr. Biswas recently accepted an appointment in the Department of Global Business Administration at the Far East University in Seoul, South Korea. I look forward to seeing how he continues to shape lives and foster the talents of his students.