Heitor Gurgulino de Souza assumed the office of Rector in September 1987. At the time of his appointment, he was the President of the Latin American University Group, the head of the Planning Commission of the Federal Council of Education in the Brazilian Ministry of Education, and a member of the United Nations University Council.
After leaving UNU in 1997, Professor Gurgulino de Souza was named Special Advisor to the Director-General of UNESCO, a position he held until 1999. He was elected Vice-President of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) for the term 1999-2002 and then Secretary-General for the term 2008-2011.
Professor Gurgulino de Souza received his degree in physics from Mackenzie University in São Paulo and did graduate work at the Aeronautics Institute of Technology in Brazil and the University of Kansas in the United States. Since 1959, he has held the chair of Professor of Science at the Julio de Mesquita Filho State University of São Paulo.
In 1962, he joined the scientific department of the Pan American Union at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. During his seven years there, he helped to organize a regional programme for scientific and technological development, and the promotion of research, training and curricular programmes for use throughout Latin America. For most of that time, he also directed the Unit of Education and Research in the Department of Scientific Affairs of the Organization of American States (OAS).
In 1970, Professor Gurgulino de Souza returned to Brazil to help establish the new Federal University of São Carlos in São Paulo State and was subsequently appointed its first Rector. From 1972 to 1974, he was also head of the Department of University Affairs of the Brazilian Ministry of Education and Culture; from 1975 to 1978, he was Director of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development of Brazil; and from 198O to 1982, he served as Vice-President of the Federal Council of Education of Brazil, of which he had been made a member by presidential appointment.
Professor Gurgulino de Souza has been involved in a number of international organizations active in the promotion of academic research and teaching. From 1974 to 1977, he served as Chairman of the Inter-American Committee on Science and Technology of the OAS Council for Education, Science, and Culture. In addition he was active with the International Council for Educational Development, and the Institute Ajijic Sobre Educación Internacional of Mexico.
Professor Gurgulino de Souza is the author of a large number of articles in the fields of physics, the application of science and technology to development, higher education, and university administration.
He was married in 1960 to Lilian Maria Quilici and they have two sons: Carlos Eduardo and Gustavo Alberto.