KHARAGPUR: Giving back at the annual alumni meet is a ritual at IIT Kharagpur, that has a strong alumni base spread across the world. Keeping with this tradition, close to 400 alumni from the 1969, 1979, 1994 and 1997 batches have come together this year to donate Rs. 3.6 crore to their alma mater on the occasion of the 16th annual alumni meet scheduled from Friday to Sunday.
The donation has been made as endowments, partial interest out of which will be utilized every year to support a research program for undergraduate students. To encourage such endowment gifts, the institute has started a system of christening classrooms after batches that collectively donate Rs. 50 lakhs and more.
“These classrooms remind the students each day that graduation is only the beginning of the life-long bonding with IIT KGP,” said Subrata Chattopadhyay, dean of alumni affairs. The giving back programme is gradually picking up momentum with every passing meet. In many cases the connection was re-established years after graduation.
For a batch like 1969, networking was by no means easy because when they graduated there were no emails, almost no phones (certainly no cell-phones), and no social networking sites. Alumni like Pronob Guha, Arvind Jain, Ramnath Mani and later Udit Bhanu Dasgupta from the 1969 batch re-connected and decided that it was high time that they started networking among others of their batch to raise funds. “Each alumnus has his own story, own set of friends in the batch and own set of emotions, that intrinsically add up to donations to donate to their alma mater,” they said in unison. From the initial 36 contacts, the group soon expanded to 90 and raised Rs. 82 Lakh.
For the alumni from the batch of 1994, Abhirup Mukherjee, Vijay Krishna, Subhas Lingareddy, Chandrakant Ekkirala and Manish Pandey took up the challenge and motivated the batch for a grand celebration of their silver jubilee reunion by donating Rs. 50 Lakh to claim their classroom and also raised Rs. 1.22 crore for development work at their respective halls of residence.
“Halls are the heart of IIT KGP where the bonding, which Kgpians are so proud of, begins. Each hall has its own culture and spirit. Alumni understand the varied requirements of the halls such as well-equipped model common rooms, air-conditioned libraries, modern messes etc. and take up the cause for upgrading the facilities at their halls,” remarked Prof. S K Pal, Associate Dean, Alumni Affairs who earlier headed the Hall Management Centre at the Institute.
The 1979 batch which is completing its 40th year of graduation and hence its Ruby Jubilee is very close, has raised Rs. 46 Lakh from 36 alumni. Cmdr. V. K. Jaitley, Rakesh Agarwal, Chetan Date, Ranganathan Gurumoorthy and Vipin Asija are the leaders of the batch.
“We Can! We Can!”, that’s not only the name of a book that I have written, rather it encapsulates the tempo of Kgpians, and I am sure we will inspire the younger generation to think of giving back as a culture of the place,” said an overwhelmed Cmdr. V. K. Jaitley from the 1979 batch. The 1997 batch visited the institute in December 2017 to celebrate their 20th year and pledged to etch their legacy in the Nalanda Academic Complex by December 2018. Eighty five donors from the batch led by Anandaroop Bhattacharya, Associate Professor at the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering and Associate Dean of International Relations raised Rs. 60 Lakh just before the Meet.