Written byAakanksha Raghuvanshi ·
Premier engineering and science institute BITS Pilani has announced that it received a $1 million pledge from a US-based alumni couple for its campus programs, the largest individual donation ever received by the institution.
The couple, Prashanth and Anuradha Palakurthi, made the announcement yesterday, during the ruby anniversary or 40 years of celebrations of Prashanth's 1978-83 batch from November 16-18.
Warmly welcoming the contribution, Prof Souvik Bhattacharyya, Vice-Chancellor, BITS Pilani, termed the announcement as momentous and a game-changing gesture.
More than 200 alumni of the 1978-83 batch have gathered from all over the world to relive their campus memories at Pilani.
Bhattacharyya said the donation will also help "provide seed fund support to new faculty, and help set up advanced research labs."
"With this pledge, BITS Pilani is launching a campaign to set up a Rs. 100 crore Research Endowment Fund. This fund would help provide an additional thrust to Research by way of attracting research-driven faculty, post-doctoral fellows and research scholars," Prof Bhattacharyya said.
"I believe Prashanth and Anuradha have started a brilliant endeavor to propel BITS Pilani to the next level; I invite other eminent Alumni to support us in our efforts," Bhattacharyya said.
Prashanth Palakurthi is the Founder and CEO of US-based Reflexis Systems, and his wife Anuradha, the founder of Juju Productions, is a professional singer and radio personality in the United States.
Speaking at the gala event commemorating 40yrs of his entry to BITS Pilani, Prashanth said, "We wanted to give back to our alma mater which gave us so much and where we started our journey."
Anuradha, who joined BITS in 1984, said the institute has needs in several areas including infrastructure and research.
"We hope our contribution is followed by other alumni", she said.
At the event, Anuradha also performed JuJu Productions' first live show, titled 'Desert Storm', accompanied by a 42-member musical band from Bollywood.
Prof A K Sarkar, Campus Director at Pilani, applauded the donation and said, "The Research Endowment Fund would be instrumental for our journey to pursue our agenda for Institute of Eminence (IoE) in the years to come."
BITS Pilani was conferred the 'Institute of Eminence (IoE)' status in July by the Union government alongside IISc Bangalore, IIT Delhi, and IIT Bombay.
It operates from four campuses at Pilani, Goa, Hyderabad, and Dubai and features in prestigious international, national ranking.
Recently it broke into the World top 500 ranks when it was ranked 401-500 in THE 2019 Subject Ranking for Life Sciences.
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