IIT Madras celebrates first ever AlumNite

IIT Madras celebrated its first-ever ‘AlumNite’, a variant of the traditional ‘Alumni Day’, intended to welcome the newest graduates into the alumni fold. This year’s program was designed like an Awards Show with a focus on, awards, prizes, Chairs and cultural performances by the outgoing graduate students, according to a media statement.

As Prof. Nagarajan, Dean, International & Alumni Relations sees it, “There is a need to continuously innovate in the way we reach out to our alumni, and connect them with our students and faculty. Given the tremendous advances in our alumni outreach activities, this is also an occasion to step back and celebrate”.

The evening commenced with IIT Madras’ alum and Infosys co-Founder, Kris Gopalakrishnan announcing the launch of the 3rd ‘Distinguished Chair in Computational Brain Research’, the last of the three Chairs sponsored by him at IIT Madras with an endowment of Rs. 10 crores each.  The 3rd Chair endowed during “AlumNite” has Prof. Anand Raghunathan (Purdue University, West Lafayette, USA) as the fist occupant. Prof. Raghunathan will spend a year at IIT Madras on sabbatical leave from Purdue University. These Chairs have been created for the institute to focus on computing aspects, architecture & model of the brain including the memory/ processor relationship and neuromorphic computing. The first Chair was endowed in December 2014 as the “Prof. Mahabala Distinguished Chair in Computational Brain Research” and has since been occupied by Dr. Partha Mitra (Cold Spring Harbor Lab, New York, USA). The 2nd Chair was endowed in April 2015 as the “NR Narayana Murthy Distinguished Chair in Computational Brain Research” and has since been occupied by Prof. Mriganka Sur (MIT, Cambridge, USA).

This was followed by the conferral of “Distinguished Alumnus Award 2015” to Prof. R. Srikant, Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois, USA (B.Tech, Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras – 1985). The award was conferred in recognition of Prof. Srikant’s fundamental and sustained contributions to a broad swathe of topical problems in networking. He was elected a Fellow of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) in 2006, and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE/ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Transactions in Networking.

Next came the announcements by last year’s reunion batches (64-65, 70, 74, 84, 89) and this year’s (66, 75, 90, 95) regarding their organisational and fund-raising status and outlook. Interspersed by a string of delightful and heartwarming performances by the graduating batch, the evening ended with various alumni-funded prizes being distributed to IIT-M faculty and students, including two awards conferred by the IIT Madras Alumni Association- for Outstanding Service to the Institute (Prof. A Veeraragavan), and for Outstanding Service to Alumni (Prof. LS Ganesh)


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