Ram Chelluri, Chapter President 2013-2014
On behalf of the IITBAA-GNY Executive Committee (EC) team and the entire IITBAA-GNY alumni group, I am pleased, honored and delighted to report briefly on the IITBAA-GNY Activities 2013-2014
How time flies. It seems like just yesterday when the EC took office, back in January 2013. We have had two exciting years. As with any volunteer organization, we have had our share of hurdles and challenges juggling priorities, schedules and time. I must therefore congratulate our EC team and active volunteers on their dedication and perseverance at arranging outstanding programs and keeping the IITBAA-GNY Chapter dynamic and vibrant.
IITBAA Reunion and other events’ reports are posted here.
Here is a list of our well-attended professional and social events in 2013.
Happy Hours & Monthly Meetings, 2nd Thursdays, Alternatively in NJ and NYC
February 2013: Felicitation dinner in Manhattan honoring Professor Deepak Phatak for receiving the prestigious 2013 Padma Shri Award from the President of India.
June 2013: “BEYOND BRICS” Private Equity in India and Energy networking seminar at the Cooper Union Foundation Building (New York, NY), with Darius Pandole, Senior Indian Partner of New Silk Route Partners, and Dr. Suresh Bhate, an IIT Bombay alum, as guest speakers.
June 2013: Annual IITB Summer Picnic in Duke Island Park (Bridgewater, NJ) with an IIT-Style treasure hunt, bingo, cricket, volleyball and potluck food.
Oct 2013: The IIT Bombay Alumni Association of Greater New York celebrated its Annual Reunion on October 26, 2013 at the Cooper Union Auditorium in New York City.
The event was attended by over a 100 alumni and their guests. In attendance were Dr. Devang Khakhar, Director of IITB and Dr. Jamshed Bharucha, President of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (CU). The event was held in the Rose Auditorium, the futuristic (some say a spaceship landed in the City) building designed by the famous architect, Thom Mayne.
The festivities began with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and networking in the early evening in the atrium. This was followed by the formal presentations in the auditorium.
First to present was Suresh Shenoy, IITB 1971, who talked about the WHEELS (Water, Health, Energy, Education, Lifestyle, Security) initiative of PanIIT and urged us to get involved in this give back to society effort. WHEELS is a program to enable alumni to get more easily involved in technology-based community projects (especially in India) and in helping research at IITs in this area. This was followed by a very informative talk by Jason Feldman of UBS Financial Services, a major corporate sponsor of the event, on investment opportunities particularly in foreign securities.
Dr. Khakhar talked at length about the happenings at IITB – about current programs, future plans and many of the initiatives underway in collaborations with other leading universities and corporations, as well as in sponsored research for the government and the private sector. Dr. Bharucha of Cooper Union reciprocated with an account of the founding and storied history of Cooper Union (Thomas Edison was a student!) and its current reputation as one of the most prestigious engineering schools in the country. Cooper Union, like IITB, admits solely on merit. It also provides a full scholarship to every admitted student, although this is slated to change shortly. Cooper Union is unique in its philosophy of close contact between students and faculty and a focus on rigorous, humanistic learning that is enhanced by the process of design. Some of us were privileged to have a tour the previous day of the CU facilities and laboratories.
The highlight of the IITB-Cooper Union meet was the signing of a memorandum of understanding for a Student Exchange program between the two institutions. Undergraduate students from each school will spend one semester at the other during their junior or senior years. Ruyintan (Ron) Mehta, IITB 1970, has generously donated the funds to get the program launched. The formal signing occurred on the stage with the full complement of the visiting IITB team, including Deans and Professors, the Cooper Union team and some of the NYC alumni who were involved in setting up the program.
Anita Raghavan, previously with Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, was the featured keynote speaker. Raghavan is the author of the recent bestseller, The Billionaire’s Apprentice, which traces the arc of Indian Americans from immigrants to leaders in business, academia, government and the arts over the past 40 years. The book traces the life of Rajat Gupta, an IIT Delhi alum, to illustrate the journey Indian Americans have taken. She read excerpts from the book, recounted the story of her own immigrant parents and held the audience spellbound for over an hour, including a spirited question and answer period.
The Raghavan session would have continued for another hour but for the aromas of Indian-Chinese food wafting in from the dining room. Dinner was in the adjoining art gallery, where alumni had another chance to mingle with old friends, make new ones and take in the art on the walls and the large modern sculptures on the floor. During dinner, Raghavan was kind enough to autograph copies of her book for alumni.
Dinner was followed by another highlight – a presentation by Padma Shri Prof. Deepak Phatak on his T10KT program. This is the Train Ten Thousand Teachers project that enlists IITB faculty and a blended MOOCs distance-learning model to train teachers at other engineering schools in India. Phatak riveted us with his talk on how the program was started during one of his sabbaticals, how it was piloted and scaled up, and is now slated to reach out to 150,000 teachers across India under the auspices of the Indian government. Phatak remains a great inspiration to all and elicited huge applause.
The alumni association also held a raffle (which is fast becoming a tradition) for an iPad at the end of the evening. It was won, fittingly, by an alumnus from the earliest graduating batch – 1962 – represented at the event!
IITBAA-GNY plans to continue its tradition of annual meetings with distinguished alumni and faculty, interesting and topical speakers and an opportunity to reconnect with friends and classmates.
Following-on with a very successful 2013, here is a list of our well-attended professional and social events in 2014:
Happy Hours & Monthly Meetings, 2nd Thursdays, Alternatively in NJ and NYC
Feb 2014: Energy Finance, Feb 20th, Bombay Palace, New York
June 2014: Aakash Tablet and Distance Learning – Prof. Kannan Moudgalya, June 30th, Bombay Palace, New York
June 2014: A Summer Picnic, June 21st, Eagle Rock Reservation, West Orange, NJ. A Photo Essay, pp23 in the Reunion Magazine describes this Picnic in a wonderful, captivating and elegant style
Oct 2014: The IIT Bombay Alumni Association of Greater New York celebrated its Annual Reunion on October 11, 2014 at the Princeton Club, NY.
The 2014 Reunion was a grand and resounding successful event with about 100 people in attendance.
Opening Remarks – Ambassador Dnayaneshwar M. Mulay, Consul General of India, New York
Drawing from the inspiration from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brilliant speech at the Madison Square Garden, Ambassador Dnayaneshwar M. Mulay, Consul General of India, New York opened our reunion thanking for the opportunity to address the IITBAA-GNY alums. He stressed on the themes presented by Prime Minister Modi of economic and technical cooperation and volunteerism in India. He offered NY Indian Consulate’s close cooperation with IITBAA-GNY. Alums talked to him afterwards about his suggestion of brainstorming together about good ideas for us to work on to help with Modi’s initiatives and he readily agreed to get together with us to discuss these at a later time. In addition to his opening remarks, we thank him for gracing this occasion by attending with his family.
Recognize IIT-B Exchange Students at the Cooper Union – Dr. Anita Raja, Associate Dean, The Cooper Union. Dr. Anita Raja introduced IIT Bombay Exchange Students – Akshay Joshi, Prakhar Jaju, Sneha Goenka and Abhilash Singh and explained the importance of the exchange program to both IIT Bombay and Cooper Union. Dr. Teresa Dahlberg, Dean and Chief Academic Office at Cooper Union also participated in the Reunion activities.
Felicitation of Dr. Subhash Khot, IMU’s 2014 Rolf Nevanlinna Award Winner by Prof. Ravi Sinha, Dean (ACR) IIT Bombay and Director Devang Khakhar
Dr. Khot during his brief remarks captivated the audience with his recollections of his childhood and the interactions with his Mathematics and Science teacher – Mr. Vaman G. Gogate. It’s very rare that we come across such great individuals like Mr. Gogate who take the time to groom and help youngsters, who bloom to be accomplished and world renowned mathematicians like Dr. Khot. We congratulated Dr. Khot on his achievements and we thank him for his very humble and unpretentious talk.
Keynote Address – Dr. Robert J Hariri, Chairman, Celgene Cellular Therapeutics
Dr. Hariri’s talk on Stem Cells was absolutely fascinating – We finally heard the explanation why we age! He is an entertaining speaker and the Alums are excited and some of us are now looking forward to the day when we can visit the doctor’s office for any ailment to get “stem cell” injection – leaving the smart work of finding and eradicating the ailment to the stem cells. Dr. Hariri, for his part, was very impressed with the participation and questions from the audience.
IIT Bombay News & Update Prof. Devang Khakhar, Director IIT Bombay
Along with Director Prof. Devang Khakhar, Prof. HS Pandalai, Deputy Director (Finance and External Affairs), Prof. Ravi Sinha, Dean Alumni & Corporate Relations, Prof. Rajiv Dusane, Dean International Relations, Prof. JK Verma, Dean Faculty, and Prof. PM Mujumdar, Dean R&D participated in the Reunion activities. Director Khakhar described IIT Bombay’s past, current and future activities in great detail.
At last count we have in excess of 800 active e-mail addresses of Bombay-IITians in the greater New York area. Despite this number, we can claim a steadfast group of mere 10-15 active volunteers! Surely there are more of us with talent, enthusiasm and a love for beloved IIT Bombay in the area? I urge you to come forward and lend us a hand, share with us your ideas for, and your interest in, our local Chapter and the alma mater.
An important question that begs asking is, “What do the alumni want?” That is, besides catching up with your classmates and coequals, trading stories of our success and failures, and making new acquaintances. Above all, we should revel in that IIT Bombay is an acclaimed educational institution not only in India, but is also renowned internationally. A claim buttressed, for instance, by the IMU’s recent award of its prestigious Nevanlinna Prize to alumnus Subhash Khot ’99, now a decorated professor at NYU. Let’s join hands to ensure that the world-class professionals and resources of IIT Bombay that nurtured intellects like Dr. Khot’s are not only sustained, but further improved. Our alumni chapter strives to better understand and prioritize the wants and needs of its members. I invite you to connect with us, give your input, and guide us in serving our collective interests better.
This reunion is our opportunity to reconnect with classmates, reminisce with our campus contemporaries, and start forging new partnerships. Let us relive the IIT Bombay experience in the company of other alumni with frequent topical meetings to build on what we are doing.
Sivaram (Ram) Chelluri, MTech (ME) ’69, PhD (ME) ‘74
President, IITBAA-GNY Chapter 2013-2014
Contributors and Active Volunteers:
Sushil Bhatia ‘66, Vice President
Subodh Batra ‘72, Treasurer
Gaurang Master ‘66, Trustee
Ron Mehta ‘70, Trustee
Vinay Karle ‘96, Ex-Officio Director
Kumar Shah ‘70, Ex-Officio Director
Biresh Basak ‘96
Brijesh Agrawal ‘85
Kicha Ganapathy ‘67
Annina John ‘97
Sridhar Kona ‘97
Shirish Nadkarni ‘83
Uday Nadkarni ‘78
Jude Netto ‘66
Jignesh Patel ‘92
Vikas Tipnis ‘74
Note: This report was edited by Ram Chelluri with contributions from the IITBAA-GNY active volunteers.
A PDF version of this report can be accessed here.