IIT Madras celebrates Alumni Reunion Day

Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras and the IIT Madras Alumni Association organized the annual Alumni Reunion on campus today (27th December 2019). The Distinguished Alumnus Awards for 2020 (enclosed with this Press Release) were also announced during this occasion.

A major highlight of the occasion was the establishment of a new Institute Chair sponsored by Distinguished Alumnus Awardee (2004) – Prof. Marti G. Subrahmanyam, Charles E. Merrill Professor of Finance and Economics, Stern School of Business and Global Network Professor of Finance and Economics, NYU Shanghai, New York University.

An alumnus of 1967 batch (B.Tech., Mechanical Engineering), Prof. Marti G. Subrahmanyam donated US$ 1,00,000 to set up ‘Marti Mannariah Gurunath Institute Chair’ in Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras. Prof. Raghunathan Rengaswamy, also an alumnus of IIT Madras (1990, B.Tech. (Chemical Engineering)) and currently a faculty in Department of Chemical Engineering, will be the first occupant of the Chair.

Announcing the Chair Launch, Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, said, “Prof. Marti G. Subrahmanyam’s family already supports the ‘Srimathi Marti Annapurna Gurunath Award for Excellence in Teaching’ award in the Institute and now, he is supporting the Institute again through this Chair, being set up in his father’s name. We thank him and his family for this generous gesture.”

In addition, the B.Tech. batch of 1994 has pledged over US$ 1 million to IIT Madras. This amount will be contributed over a period of 2 to 3 years and will be used for merit-cum-means scholarships, improving emotional wellness of students and individual engineering departments.

Highlighting the ‘Alumni Engagement with IIT Madras,’ Prof Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean (International and Alumni Relations), IIT Madras, said, “Today, we graduate around 2,000 students every year including 800 undergraduate students, a figure that has grown several-fold in the last 25 years. The institute is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee during 2019. Our alumni are spread all over the world with some leading the biggest brands/companies in the world. A lot of the Alumni have attributed a significant portion of their success to the Institute. ‘Alumni Giving’ has been an important part in what has enabled IIT Madras to achieve its vision. We look forward to working with the alumni to take the Institute in a path that will be relevant to the country and the alumni.”

A Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2019 was also conferred on the occasion to Dr. Parthasarathy Ranganathan (1994, B.Tech, (Electrical Engineering)), Distinguished Engineer at Google. Before this, he was a HP Fellow and Chief Technologist at Hewlett Packard Labs where he led their research on systems and datacenters. Dr. Ranganathan’s research interests are in systems architecture and manageability, energy-efficiency, and systems modeling and evaluation.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Marti G. Subrahmanyam said, “Five Members of my family have studied in this esteemed institute. Generations of my family had been involved in engineering. This Chair is a small token of our gratitude for all that we have received in our career. It is fitting that the ‘Marti Mannariah Gurunath Institute Chair’ is being launched here today and we are delighted that Prof. Raghunathan Rengaswamy is going to be the first occupant.”

Prof S. Pushpavanam, Head, Department of Chemical Engineering, read the citation for Prof. Raghunathan Rengaswamy.

Delivering the welcome address, Ms. Shuba Kumar, President, IIT Madras Alumni Association, said, “The Alumni Association has found that the Alumni is interested in reconnecting, engaging and giving back to the Institute, the association and/or the society at large. Reunions are the biggest event on reconnecting the alumni to the Institute. In the last two years, chapters have been inaugurated in Singapore, Europe and Kerala with more smaller clubs in the works. There is a lot more engagement and energy going on.”

Marking the occasion, an ‘IITM: A Tech expo’ was also organized with several student teams and IIT Madras-incubated startups demonstrating their innovation to the Alumni. The event featured 12 Project Teams and Four Competition Teams from the Centre for Innovation (CFI), a ‘Student Lab’ at IIT Madras established with funds from Alumni. In addition, some startups incubated by IITM Incubation Cell also participated.

Highlighting ‘Alumni giving in the U.S.,’ Mr. Girish Muckai (1990 Batch), President, IITM Foundation, U.S, said, “We are the fundraising arm of IIT Madras in the U.S., started about four years ago. An Endowment is needed to take the Institute into the global landscape. IIT Madras has been No. 1 in India for four years now and Institute wants to go beyond that. Institutions in the U.S. have large endowments that help them go above and beyond the academic curriculum. The Class of 1994 and others who are here today (27th Dec 2019) have done a lot for the Institute. A number of gift options are available, from scholarships for students, Chair Professors, establish interdisciplinary centres of excellence and modernising hostels, among many other vital things.”

The CFI teams and startups that participated in ‘IITM: A Tech expo’ include E-Plane, Ghost Vision, Involve, Avishkaar Hyperloop, Anveshak, Abhiyaan, CVI, Horizon, Envisage, Electronics Club, iBot Club and the Pre-Incubation Cell Nirmaan besides e-cell.

Speaking about ‘Alumni – Key Stakeholders in IITM’s growth aspiration,’ Mr. M. Subramanian, Chief Executive Officer, Office of Institutional Advancement, IIT Madras, said, “We engage with the Alumni and raise funds for the Institution. Fundraising started in a small way with a professor doing it as part of Alumni Engagement and now, we have a full-fledged Dean. This Office started five years back and have raised around Rs. 400 crore so far, among the best for an Educational Institution in India. Around 4,000 Alumni have contributed to the Institute. Apart from Scholarships, alumni funds support student teams to take part in international events, faculty paper presentations and augment campus infrastructure, among other things. Alumni contribution go a long way in helping the Institute leapfrog in capabilities and facilities to attract talented faculty, researchers and students and achieve global recognition.”

Prof Manu Santhanam, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras, spoke about ‘Emerging Career Choices for Students.’ Dr. Tamaswati Ghosh, Chief Executive Officer, IIT Madras Incubation Cell, spoke about ‘Incubation and Innovation.’ Mr. Kumaran Sathasivam, Heritage Centre, IIT Madras, spoke on ‘IIT Madras – Then and Now.’