Today we stand on the shoulder of giants as we look into the future using newer mediums of communication to exchange thoughts and convert ideas into positive contributions. We are grateful to the pioneers and gentle giants whose vision, courage, and selfless sacrifices paved the way for us. They toiled for freedom and opportunity both in India and the West.
At the time of Independence from colonialism, the Indian sub-continent was mostly a producer of raw material and natural resources. IITs were established as Science and Engineering hubs with a vision and faith that indigenous talent, left uncorrupted from interference, can become world class. World class talent would then be able to propel the nation forward. Free thought and vigorous debates became a hallmark of campus life. The Alumni were born in that crucible, the first ones established in 1962.
Immigration from the sub-continent started in the early twentieth century. Early pioneers were escaping colonialism and looking for better opportunities. There were times not too long ago when immigrants bought one-way steamship tickets to the new world. Families were instantly separated – forever. Letters took months to reach destinations. Telegrams and highly expensive phone calls were later modes of communication between loved ones.
Adding to the complexity were differences in culture, religion, and food habits between the sub-continent and the West. Navigating, adapting, accepting, resisting, rejecting new or old traditions, all at the same time, is still subject of high drama that continues to this day. It was natural under these circumstances for immigrants from the sub-continent to come together for support, understanding, and sense of community. The informal meetings over chai, potlucks, home-made pakoras, and samosas topped with beer and coke were the precursor of a more formal Alumni Association.
The day of 19th July, 2000 will go down in history as the day when IIT Bombay Alumni Association, Greater New York Chapter Inc was formed in the Garden State, New Jersey. IITBAA-GNY’s Mission at the time was to help promote the professional advancement of its members, to contribute to the success of IIT Bombay, and to facilitate community service and philanthropy.
Since that day, the chapter has grown each year in both activities and strength. The founders have to be given enormous credit for setting up a democratic governance structure. Enthusiastic volunteers have stepped up to selflessly contribute time and resources. Annual re-unions have been held along with various activities supporting the Mission of the Association. Management teams are elected for two year terms that help in organization matters. They have persevered to keep Alumni engaged.
With about 1000 members, including many dedicated volunteers, our chapter has come to represent a gold standard in its ability to engage the alumni and broader communities and is considered as one of the most active and model chapters. In the July 2012 Goa conclave, IITBAA decided to adopt GNY mission statement for all the chapters in India. Our by-laws serve as guiding principles for various PanIIT chapters in the USA.
Internet, social media, and blogs are collapsing time delay in communications and offering newer ways to staying connected. We welcome all Alumni to openly share ideas and participate with thoughts and perspectives on this blog. A civil discourse with diverse views will ensure that we remain on track. Please stay tuned to these pages as we document exciting contributions of our alumni.
Timeline of Chapter
1962 Possibility for alumni movement started to exist. First batch became official alumni of IIT Bombay!
Prior to 2000 Many get-togethers/picnics/networking events that planted seeds of a more formal chapter.
2000 IITBAA-GNY formally incorporated as a 501c7 not-for-profit organization in July.
2001 First team took office for a 2-year term.
2001 Mission Statement formalized on Roosevelt Island in a day long focused effort.
2002 First online election system (now used by worldwide chapter) developed by GNY team.
2003 IITBAA-GNY provided leadership in forming IIT-GNY, a chapter for all IITans in tri-state area.
2004 Partnered with the Indian Consulate in NY to jointly organize events.
2006 Partnered with CFY to help inner city middle school students bridge the digital divide
2007 Organized large gathering of about 50 Distinguished Alums (DA) from around the globe.
2008 More than 1000 worldwide alums participated in Golden Jubilee Celebrations @Times Square.
2009 Partnered with Dakshana to help talented rural children prepare for JEE.
2010 Hosted first-ever Northeast Chapter Conclave with Washington DC and Boston chapter.
2011 Provided leadership and volunteer energy in organizing IIT 2011 Global Conference.
2012 Started dialogue for a potential Cooper Union–IITB tie-up.
2014 First batch of four exchange students from IIT Bombay spent a semester in Cooper Union.
Our Past Presidents and office bearers are listed here.
An incomplete list of our indomitable, tireless and selfless volunteers is here.