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Bill Gates inaugurates IIT golden jubilee celebrations
January 18, 2003 15:21 IST
Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft, inaugurated the 50th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Indian Institute of Technology on Friday at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California.
The golden jubilee celebrations recognize the accomplishments of IIT (http://www.iit.org) and its alumni.
The Indian Institute of Technology system has seven campuses located throughout India, and offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in various engineering, science, technology and management disciplines.
It was profiled earlier this month on the CBS News 60 Minutes programme as 'the most important university you've never heard of.'
Comparing IIT to Harvard, MIT and Princeton put together, 60 Minutes pointed out that gaining admission to the IIT was more difficult than getting into the best of the Ivy League schools in the United States.
Over 2,300 IIT alumni from all over the United States, Europe and from India came to the Flint Center and heard Gates speak about 'The next wave, and opportunities for IITs.'
Amongst the many high profile alumni in attendance were Rajat Gupta, managing director, McKinsey & Company; Victor Menezes, senior vice-chairman, Citigroup; Arun Sarin, CEO-designate of Vodafone; and N R Narayana Murthy, founder and chairman of Infosys.
"The IIT alumni community has come together in an unprecedented manner to establish a strong and cohesive force to help their alma mater and their fellow alumni," said Monishi Sanyal, chairman of the IIT50 Organizing Committee.
"Having exploded out of the starting block, we are confident that we can build a powerful and sustainable IIT alumni organisation, building upon the success of this event," added Sanyal.
On the occasion of the golden jubilee of the IIT system, two distinguished IIT alumni announced major donations to their alma mater.
Vinod Khosla, general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, announced a $5 million donation to his alma mater, IIT Delhi.
The gift is the largest by a single individual in the history of IIT Delhi, and will help maintain and enhance the excellence of the school.
"This donation will be utilised to establish a school of IT which should provide an excellent research facility for undergraduate and post-graduate students," said Prof R S Sirohi, director of IIT Delhi.
Avi Nash, advisory director, Goldman Sachs, announced a $1 million donation to the chemical engineering department at IIT Bombay for research laboratories, endowments for chair professorships and awards for faculty and student excellence.
"Avi's donation will go a along way in enhancing the research capabilities of the chemical engineering department," said Prof Ashok Misra, director of IIT Bombay.
"The importance of these generous donations from Khosla and Nash cannot be overstated," said IIT alumnus and McKinsey managing director Rajat Gupta.
"The money they are contributing will help fund education and research at IIT, and ensure that IIT will continue to be one of the world's leading universities in the fields of technology and science. Their generosity will also set a wonderful example for other IIT alumni to follow in his footsteps, and those of many others such as Kanwal Rekhi and Gururaj 'Desh' Deshpande who have led the way in establishing a tradition of 'giving back' amongst the IIT alumni."
Over the past few years, several IIT alumni have been active in 'giving back' to their alma mater, and have helped fund new schools and infrastructure projects to maintain the excellence of the system.
The Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Technology and the Shailesh Mehta School of Management are examples of new schools funded through alumni donations.
Many other prominent IIT alumni have similarly contributed funds and other assistance to IIT.
These include Narayana Murthy; Nandan Nilekani, CEO, Infosys; Vinod Gupta, chairman, InfoUSA; Rajesh Mashruwala, COO, Tibco Software; Suhas Patil, chairman emeritus, Cirrus Logic; Arjun Malhotra, CEO, TechSpan; Purnendu Chatterjee, founder, Chatterjee Group; Desh Deshpande, chairman, Sycamore; Prabhu Goel, chairman, iPolicy Networks; Girish Gaitonde, CEO, Xoriant; and Umang Gupta, CEO, Keynote Systems, to name a few amongst many such examples.
The schedule for the two-day event includes several keynote speeches and panel discussions on 'Business innovation: building on stellar analytical skills,' 'Leadership: turning ideas into results' and 'Strengthening communities through value creation.'
Besides Gates, the keynote speakers include John Hennessy, president, Stanford University; and Robert Blackwill, United States Ambassador to India.IIT-50 Celebrations in Silicon Valley