PANJAB UNIVERSITY’S appeal to its former students to help their alma mater tide over the financial crisis has resonated among some alumni.
At least three old students have contacted the varsity and offered their support. Though the university has made a general appeal to all its former students for contribution, the PU administration is pinning its hopes specifically on its battery of illustrious alumni to step up.
On Tuesday, a former PU student, Dr Keval Krishan Tiwari from the US, contacted the university through e-mail and offered to finance the education of at least five students of the department. “The alumnus, based in Michigan, USA, has offered 10 lakh rupees for any five students of the honours degree in chemistry department,” professor Anil Monga, dean of alumni relations, told Chandigarh Newsline.
A Delhi-based assistant professor of a private institute and 2010 gold medallist of PU’s School of Communication Studies, Dr Baninder Rahi, informed the university in a communication that she, along with her husband, would launch a social media campaign to seek contributions from the alumni.
Another former student of chemical engineering, who had come to collect her alumni card on Wednesday, also promised to help. “People are concerned and anguished about what is happening with the university. We do not want to enforce anything on people. It is an open appeal for everyone,” said Monga.
Officials said they have made the appeal to anyoneand everyone associated with the university. The varsity plans to write a letter to all its 6,000-plus registered alumni and others to garner contributions.
“Most of the people working in institutions across Punjab, Haryana or even Himachal have studied here. We are appealing to everyone to contribute for studies of any existing student,” said Monga.
The PU administration has developed a full-fledged plan for what has been dubbed the Guru Dakshina Campaign. The alumni will have multiple options to contribute towards the university. They can finance a minimum of five students in any department, they can contribute towards the research projects or any other innovative plans of the university, create an endowment in the name of their near or dear ones or help in infrastructure development of the university.
Since 2015, an endowment, named Gill Family Charitable Fund, started by alumnus JS Gill, based in California, has contributed Rs 1.3 crore to the varsity. The funds are being spent on the education of 12 students of the University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and a research project. At least, 15 such schemes are being run by the Department of Alumni Relations.
With its plan to expand and publicise the call for contribution towards the university, the varsity is now banking on the support of who’s who of the country for monetary help. The list of alumni of the university throws a broad category of people, who have been at the helm of affairs not just in government circles but also judiciary and corporate industry.
Sunil Bharti Mittal is the founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises that owns the telephony network, Bharti Airtel. Mittal graduated from Panjab University in 1976. The former Union law minister and senior lawyer, Kapil Sibal, also figures on the distinguished alumni list of the university along with other big political players like former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, current External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher and her husband and actor Anupam Kher. A number of former apex court judges and Puducherry Governor and first woman IPS officer of the country, Kiran Bedi, have also been former students of the university.