I gave my first convocation speech at IIIT-Delhi in Nov 2012. Mr. NR Narayana Murthy was the chief guest. My full speech is available at Institute’s site (here). I thought I will share/record some suggestions I gave for the alumni of IIIT-Delhi – those portions of the speech are given here.

“Let me now take this opportunity to put before you, the first set of alumni of IIIT-D, a few suggestions, as trends you and your families set will guide others to come in later years.  But before that, let me mention the important role of alumni for an Institute.

To a large extent what alumni do with their lives define the stature of an Institute.  And we have provided a strong foundation for you to do well in life – good education from a dedicated faculty, and a strong value system of academic honesty, hard work, and professionalism.  Alumni form a special stakeholder for an Institute as their only interest is to see the Institute flourish and grow in stature –  the more the Institute grows in stature the better it is for the alumni. This makes them a unique stakeholder as all other stakeholders like students, faculty, staff, and administration, have other stakes as well. I have two specific suggestions for your consideration to play your role as a responsible and important stakeholder of IIIT-Delhi.

First, stay engaged with the Institute. This is extremely important. Visit the Institute when in Delhi and meet with faculty and students, respond to our emails, ensure that your contact information with us is correct, visit the Institute website regularly to keep abreast of what is happening, give suggestions, etc.

Second, give back to the Institute, financially and otherwise.  For an Institute to be strong and protect itself from interference from outside, financial autonomy is essential. Towards this, as has been shown by great Universities of the world, a strong endowment/corpus is necessary. We have set a goal of Rs 100 crores corpus in 10 years – we have made a good start and have about Rs 2 Crores corpus, with at least six people contributing around Rs 20 Lac each. My suggestion to alumni is to contribute 1% of your income yearly to the Institute, and increase it when you are well-off and can afford to contribute more. If each alumnus does this, this support will enthuse others to contribute, creating a strong support base.

To be with you in this drive of giving back to your Institute, and to walk the talk, I have instructed our finance department to deduct one month on my salary every year as contribution to our Institute. And this has already started – before you graduated one month of my salary was donated as the initial contribution by your batch.

Besides giving yourself, there will be opportunities for you particularly when you are senior, and for your parents now, to have corporations, philanthropists, agencies to establish Chairs, Fellowships, Scholarships, Awards etc at the Institute. Please help bring such opportunities to the Institute.  I can share one personal example of this. When I was spending my Sabbatical from IIT Kanpur at Infosys as Vice President, Mr. and Mrs Murthy wanted to set up a Chair. I quickly worked with them and provided all the help, resulting in the Chair getting established in IIT Kanpur.

Later when you are senior and have more experience and knowledge to share, there will be other possibilities of giving back, particularly if you have remained engaged. E.g. offering some courses,  giving lectures, conducting short programs/workshops, facilitating placement and internships of our students, etc.”

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