Sept 2nd (Chicago) Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee alumni, known as Thomasonians, concluded their North America Reunion at Hotel Hyatt Lisle, in Chicagoland. This conference was attended by U.S., Canada, and India alumni luminaries from corporation, research and academic organizations alike, including Google, Deloitte, KPMG, Schlumberger, HP, Caterpillar, Sears,
University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, and Harvard University. Founders of companies in financial, environmental and information technology services, bioinformatics, cloud computing, internet, telecommunications and mobile technology along with social entrepreneurs and philanthropists enriched this forum.
IIT Roorkee, earlier known as University of Roorkee and Thomason College of Engineering, has over 160 years history of engineering education. It is not only the oldest engineering institute in Asia, but also considered trendsetter in technical and engineering education in the commonwealth. It was established in 1847 to develop India’s capability in civil engineering and build infrastructure. Since then its alumni has included generations of nation builders.
The conference included keynote speeches by Google Fellow & SVP, Mr. Amit Singhal, philanthropist, investor, social entrepreneur, Mr. Hersh Kumar, and University of Minnesota’s distinguished professor & big data data mining expert, Prof. Vipin Kumar. Panels on Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Leadership covered insights from prominent Angel Investors, VCs, CEOs, Researchers, Academicians and other thought leaders. Pitchfest with elevator pitches was a big hit for both budding and established entrepreneurs. Career Advancement and Recruitment Program was also launched to help connect the companies with appropriate talent.
Prof Vipin Kumar shared his insight and the cutting edge research in Big Data and how he is using it regarding climate change.
Director IIT Roorkee, Prof Pradipta Banerji, who had to return earlier used this occasion to communicate to alumni his mission to increase the multi-disciplinary research being done at IIT Roorkee, to bring in a culture of innovation at all levels of students, such that they find engineering exciting and also learn that engineering today requires multiple disciplines to work together to develop any new product.
This event was organized by the IIT Roorkee Alumni Association of North America. The president, Mr. Anoop Verma, who was also the conference chair, launched an Entrepreneur Forum that consisted of experienced Angel/Venture Capital investors. As a first step to a longer-term engagement, the Forum hosted a Venture Pitchfest that was highly successful and generated a lot of excitement with nearly a dozen start-ups/prospects pitching their ideas for funding or networking or other needs.
The IIT-R Entrepreneur Forum is led by entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture capital partners from California, Michigan, Texas and Illinois. In the next phase, it will be expanded to East Coast – New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.
Speaking about the immense variety and high caliber of the conference Mr. Sanjay Keswani, Vice-chair Conference and In-charge of programming, said that this shows the huge potential that these (alumni) groups bring to deliver huge economic or nation building efforts. Mr. Manoj Goel, Advisor Entrepreneur Forum, and Mr. Aditya Nath, Chair Sponsorship, echoed similar sentiments while participating in the Pitchfest panel. The immediate access to such accomplished business and research leaders provides a huge benefit to anyone looking to take the next step in their fields.
IIT Roorkee’s Dean of Alumni relations, Prof S P Gupta talked about the exciting development at the campus and unveiled the brochure for one of IIT Roorkee’s sister organization, Anushruti, a school for deaf children, whose patron is Mrs Anasuya Banerji.
It was followed by an evening of music, dance, and Bharatnatyam fusion performance by a group of local school children, Bharatam, which made this event even more special.
IIT RAANA is part of the global IIT Roorkee Alumni Association and one of the IIT Alumni Associations that form the PAN IIT. PanIIT Global provides legitimacy, oversight, and guidance to the various national and regional PanIIT organizations. The focus of PanIIT is on common issues for all IIT campuses such as branding, advocacy and wider networking. PAN IIT is the umbrella organization that holds PAN IIT Global Conferences. In 2012, this conference is being held in Kolkata.
PAN IIT 2013 Global Conference will be held in Houston Texas. Dr Roopa Gir, who is leading the efforts for the Houston conference called upon all IITians to lead in the organization of this important conference, which will be held in Dec 2013.
IIT Roorkee Alumni North America 2012 Reunion was organized by volunteers. One of the highlights of the organization of this event, and what remains as a signature of IIT Roorkee events, was the tremendous support provide by the spouses and children of alumni to organize this. Speaking about this, Mrs Sadhna Agarwal said that it makes such events more fun and improves the quality of these conferences. It also exposes the younger generation to role models and the value of hard work.