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2015: IIT Madras Year in Review

Dear Alumnus/ Alumna,

2015 was a fabulous year for IIT Madras in general, and in particular, with respect to international relations, alumni relations and fund-raising. Here are some highlights:

  • Six new joint doctorate degree agreements were signed with foreign Universities, bringing the total to 12. These include outstanding institutions such as NUS, Melbourne, Aachen, Bordeaux, and NTHU, Taiwan. The first two joint-doctorate degree holders (with NUS) graduated in 2015.
  • 41 new MoUs were signed, each with a faculty Champion on either side.
  • Inbound foreign student count increased by 30%, while the outbound student count increased by 50%.
  • “Reunion Day 2015” on December 28th saw the largest-ever turnout IITM alumni and families on campus, led by the Silver Reunion batch of ’90.
  • Other batches that successfully conducted reunions; ’95, ’75, ’70 (golden jubilee of joining IITM), ’65 Golden Reunion, etc. We even had a meeting between IITM and Yale alumni!
  • “Alumni Day”, held the day after Convocation to welcome fresh grads into the fold, took a new avatar as “AlumNite” in 2015, and was designed like an Awards function—trophies interspersed with the music of the outgoing IITM Band.
  • Several alumni Chapter meetings were held, each with a theme & purpose—Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Bay Area, Chicago, Singapore.
  • Number of alumni registered in the database, and in social media sites such as LinkedIn & Facebook, showed marked increases.
  • The largest number of Distinguished Alumni Awards in a year—12—were announced by the Director on “Reunion Day”.
  • 20 “Leadership Lectures” featuring alumni were held during 2015, mostly at 5 pm on Fridays during the semester.
  • The renovated “Quark” eatery, sponsored by Class of ’73, was inaugurated. Beautifully designed and integrated with its environment, it has quickly emerged as an iconic hangout on campus.
  • The first-ever large scale survey of IITM alumni was conducted. Stay-in-India and entrepreneurship are two distinct emerging trends.
  • Workshops with industry participation and CII partnership were held on campus to promote closer ties with the Development Office, IC & SR and Research Park. MoUs were signed for the same purpose—e.g., with TCS, Dell & Saint Gobain Research India.
  • The inaugural “Donor Reception” was held in April, and many “friends of IITM” were honored.
  • Fund-raising exceeded Rs. 55 crores for the first-time ever, more than doubling the 2014 total of Rs. 23 crores.
  • Number of first-time donors reached an all-time high of 1,159 in 2015, bringing the cumulative total to 3,200 (still less than 10% of the total alumni population).
  • Kris Goaplakrishnan sponsored & launched two more Distinguished Chairs in Computational Brain Research at Rs. 10 cr each. All three Chairs are currently occupied by outstanding researchers: Dr. Partha Mitra (Cold Spring Harbor Labs, New York), Prof. Mriganka Sur (MIT) and Prof. Anand Raghunathan (Purdue).
  • Prem Watsa donated $ 1 million towards renovation & naming of the Stadium. The synthetic track is spectacular, and withstood the record rains in December with ease.
  • The Mehta Family Foundation continues to sponsor the ongoing construction of the 2nd BioSciences Building, as well as a Chair currently occupied by Prof. Ashok Venkitaraman (Cambridge Univ).
  • CSR contributions from Indian industry totaled nearly Rs. 15 crores in 2015, and are poised to grow further.
  • Six “Institute Chairs” were funded at Rs. 50 lakhs each. HAL and MoLE (Ministry of Labor & Employment) also funded Chairs at IITM.
  • Shri TT Jagannathan and Dr. Krishna Chivukula continued their funding for two signature projects at IITM—the Space Lab (Satellite facility), and the Centre for R2D2 (Rehabilitation Research & Device Development), resp.
  • More than 200 students and 20 faculty were provided Travel Grants to support conference presentations and collaboration activities. The total payout exceeded Rs. 80 lakhs. More than 1,000 students have benefited from Travel Grants over the years.
  • Development Offices were launched in Chennai and the Bay Area to professionalize fund-raising, and to focus more on building a corpus.
  • 2016 promises to be a banner year in all aspects. Help us realize the promise.

With regards….

Prof. R. Nagarajan