IITB Celebrates Alumni Contributions. Debates Role in Public Space
The Decennial Celebration kick off event of IITBAA was an action packed day to say the very least. It was an occasion to celebrate alumni contributions to IIT Bombay when fittingly yet another brand new facility The 1500 seat indoor DS Foundation Gymkhana funded by a generous donation from alumnus of the class 1975 Bharat Desai and his wife Neerja Sethi was inaugurated.
It was a day of starting new initiatives and lauding old ones and honouring past stalwarts of the alumni movement as well as the contribution of alumni volunteers that forms the foundation of all our alumni driven initiatives across the globe. It was also a time for some critical self reflection and of chronicling the history of the alumni engagement with IIT Bombay which was done in the form of a film screened for the first time. The day ended with with Varshastuti and some souls stirring classical music and dinner to end a long and event packed day.
The day dawned cloudy with some mild showers. (obviously the rain gods had not heard our fervent prayers) but despite that runners of all hues, young - old, serious - casual, started converging on SAC (Students' Activity Centre, opposite H-2) even before the break of dawn. When the race started close to 100 runners took of from Student Activity Center on a thrilling run of i-Race, IIT's iconic race.
In the end, the top 10 came from all walks of IIT life. J.P. Yadav, IIT staff member, won the top slot (age 51). The alumni flag was hoisted when Bhasker Desai, an IITD alumnus and a Boston marathon qualifier at the tender age of 59 years, came in second. Amol Patwardhan came 6th overall and first amongst students. The faculty home fires were kept burning by Prof Sharat Chandran of CS dept finishing 7th. 14-year old Abhirami came first amongst women and 9th overall. And amongst our international friends, Paul Alton, CFO of Colgate India, came in 11th, barely edging his wife Susan to 12th spot.
The action soon shifted to the new D S Foundation Gymkhana In the morning, Bharat Desai, an IIT Bombay alumnus and Chairman and co-founder of Syntel inaugurated the 1500 seat indoor D S Foundation Gymkhana donated by him and his wife Neerja Sethi. The Chief Guest for the inauguration is Mrs Ami Ghia Shah, former badminton player from Gujarat whose career spanned over 19 years. Mrs Ghia has received various prestigious Awards like, *Shiv Chhatrapati Award* in 1973, *Arjuna Award* in the year 1976 and *Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar* in 1990.
There was a a friendly match between Bharat Desai and Mrs Ami Ghia Shah. Who won? Well. the jury is out on that. There were a lot of good natured heckling and cheering from Bharat's batch mates from C'75 who had shown up specially for the occasion and as far as we are concerned IIT Bombay won in the end as we now have access to a state-of-the-art stadium that represents a quantum jump in the sports facilities on campus.
The post lunch session included the Annual General body meeting of the Association when the election officer introduced three new members to the Board of Directors of IITBAA,- Deepak Patil, Shridhar Shukla and Sameer Desai. Apart from the usual order of business Kirat Patel, Raj Mshruwalla and Prof A Q Contractor acknowledged some of theheavy hittersof the alumni movement who made a difference to IIT Bombay by contributing with their time and considerable personal involvement. A scroll of honour that included names of close to 650 volunteers for the alumni movement across the globe was unveiled. It was announced that chronicling volunteer support and updating information would be taken up as an ongoing exercise. The honor roll can be downloaded here
IITBAA also announced its advisory council with Alumnus Ajit Ranade (C '82) at its head. The AGM was also the occasion for the launch of a brand new online donations portal for IIT Bombay at the hands of Dipak Sewta C' 2010 who had pledged to donate to IIT Bombay just a year back through the Give One campaign. This is a unique initiative through which the IITB and its alumni community are stepping into a new generation of continuous, fine-grained fund-raising from alumni of all ages across the world. The portal will run multiple campaigns and schedule emails, targeted messages to various groups, reminders, follow up, providing progress reports, fund utilisation and has built in real time tracking facilities. The Decennial Celebrations Fund is one such fundraising campaign that was launched on the very same day and you can contribute to IIT by clicking here and find out more about our projects by visiting this page.
The showpiece of the program was a stimulating panel discussion on Envisioning IIT Bombay with a unique format by six accomplished luminaries of national repute.The session started with welcome remarks and cheque presentation to Director Devang Khakhar by Bharat Desai. The eminent speakersincluded Dr. Harish Hande, Managing Director, SELCO-India and 2011 Magsaysay Awardee; Adil Zainulbhai, Leader of the India Practice of McKinsey & Co; Krishna Ramkumar, IITB alum 2008; CEO of Avanti Fellows; Prof. Ashwin Gumaste, Convener, Gigabit Networking Laboratory and J. R. Isaac, Chair, Computer Science; and Padma Vibhushan Anil Kakodkar, Chairman of IITB’s Board of Governors.
Prof A Q Contractor,Dean Alumni and Corporate Relations who was chairing the session pointed out that “Expectations are high from the IITs but we have often been found wanting when it comes to payback to the Society. This panel is an attempt to introspect and debate with stakeholders on how IITB can adapt and transform itself to meet these expectations while continuing to strive for excellence”.
The panel discussion focused on seeking answers to questions such as what should be IIT's delivery to society, how can they engage with industry and government to achieve it, how should such efforts be incentivized and how to measure such achievements. To become a world leader, IITs. and particularly IIT Bombay. not only meet, but also set standards that are global, yet relevant to Indian society. You can find out details of their presentations by clicking on the names of the panelists.