President To Visit Utkal University On Dec 8

Bhubaneswar: President Ram Nath Kovind will attend the Platinum Jubilee celebration of Utkal University (UU) on December 8. 

He will attend a special session to commemorate the occasion, Union Petroleum Minister and university alumnus Dharmendra Pradhan said.

He said Vice-Chancellor of the varsity SM Patnaik had invited the President to participate in the celebration. 

Odisha’s higher education minister Arun Kumar Sahoo, also a former student of the university, confirmed it while speaking at the alumni meet event, organised on Sunday as part of the culmination of the celebrations to mark the occasion.

Dharmendra joined about 10,000 alumni at the event, where he pledged to donate one year’s salary to the university alumni fund.

“Today I am here (as Union Minister) because of Utkal University, my teachers and distinguished faculty members who helped me realise my potential”.

Visibly soaked in nostalgia, the Union Minister fondly remembered his days at the campus as a student and as a union leader, of trials and tribulations during the hostel life.

“I have visited several world-class universities including Harvard and Yale, but every time I visit the campus abroad, I fondly remember Utkal Univesity and my days spent here,” Pradhan said, urging the alumni to join hands in transforming the university into a world-class institute.

He thanked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for sanctioning Rs 100 crore for campus development and opening of six centre of excellence. But he also responded to the CM’s announcement by saying that he would mobilise Rs 101 crore for the university auditorium and for other developmental work.

He also declared to create a ‘development fund’ with the help of the alumni to renovate the 14 PG hostels. 

Besides, he suggested creating a corpus on ‘higher education and research’ to foster innovation in association with global universities. The fund will also facilitate student connect programmes with other universities, he said.

Former Odisha chief secretary and convenor of the Alumni Association Bijay Kumar Patnaik made a fervent appeal to the alumni wherever they are to help and support the university transform into one of the best worldwide.  He said the alumni corpus fund should be devoted to the development of human resource and intellectual capabilities as knowledge is key to the growth of the nation.

Senior Congress leader Prasad Harichandan suggested declaring UU as a central university and supported Patnaik’s call for greater unity among the alumni for future of the university.

Patnaik said the culmination of the platinum jubilee celebration should be seen as the beginning of the centenary celebration of the university. Therefore, every present and former student of the campus should aim to take the university to new highs.

Some of the stalwarts of Odisha politics like Prafulla Ghadai, the second batch student of the university, Panchanan Kanungo, Ranendra Pratap Swain, present and former teachers,  alumni from across the country were present at the occasion.

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