Joybrato Mukherjee, a 36-year-old professor of English whose parents immigrated from India, became Germany's youngest chief executive of a university on Wednesday.
He was inducted as president, a title which is equivalent to vice-chancellor in other nations, of the University of Giessen, which in central Germany has 24,100 students.
Mukherjee said his six-year term would focus on improving teacher skills and research into education.
He was appointed deputy president of the university in April 2008, five years after being appointed a professor in its English department. He is a specialist in applied linguistics and in South Asian variants of English.
Mukherjee was born in 1973 in the Rhine valley area of western Germany where his parents had settled. He has also studied biology and education and has separately qualified as a secondary school teacher.