– A teacher affects eternity and one can never tell where the influence stops. Prof SS Ranganathan (1940 – 2015) popularly known as SSR who taught both at Pilani campus and Chennai off campus for 15 years (1978 – 1987 & 1994 – 2000) at Birla Institute of Technology and Science – BITS Pilani was an epitome of teaching excellence who demonstrated an outstanding commitment and contribution to his students and colleagues. Even though he endured his fight against a killer disease for several years, he always stood for strength, dignity, courage and hope and served the cause of students, guiding them, being part of their joys, struggles and being a great example of living a life for others, thus leaving an unparalleled legacy for all those who are interested in learning and living life to the fullest. With the dual intention of remembering Prof. SSR as well as encouraging the teaching community, a group of alumni joined hands with their Alma mater to announce an award called as “Prof. SSR Memorial Teaching Excellence Award” to honor one member of the teaching staff from any of the Indian campuses of BITS involved in full time teaching for a minimum of six semesters
Well known Chennai academic Prof Seshasayee and NS Parthasarathy widely known as Partha Co-Founder, Vice Chairman & COO of Mindtree Limited, Bengaluru both Proud to be BITSians had taken up the mission with passion to reach out to alumni across various batches spread over from Australia to America for working out the initial corpus amount of Rs 25 Lakhs for the award to get going. Exactly a year ago on Teachers Day, the Memorandum of Understanding giving the details of the award was announced and as per same the awardee would be declared to mark Teachers Day celebrations every year.
A glittering function was held at the Pilani campus of BITS NAB Auditorium on 04 Sep 2017 evening which was attended by Prime Mover of the award MindTree Partha who is himself recipient of Distinguished alumnus of BITS, his wife Radha, 1978 BITSian Ms Namita Sood, 1974 BITSian BR Natarajan (Dean Nattu). From BITS, the Vice Chancellor Prof Souvik Bhattacharyya, Prof AK Sarkar Director Pilani campus, Prof Arya Kumar Dean Alumni Relations and other officers attended. The family of Prof SSR was represented by his wife Mrs Malathy Ranganathan and his younger daughter Ms Kothai.
Emotion choked Mrs Malathi Ranganathan conveyed that the gesture of the alumni indeed touched the family members deeply and said that Prof SSR considered each and every student as his own family member. Such initiatives of giving back by the Alumni to its alma mater, demonstrates once again the reason why BITS, Pilani continues to be amongst one among the top ranking institutions in India today. Ms Kothai Ranganathan also gave a very touching speech about her father. Partha gave a comprehensive summary of different facets of Prof SSR.
Ms Shivangi Research Scholar anchored the proceedings and Ganesh Vandana was rendered by Ms Ardra and Devarcher. Ms Nancy Tripathi and Ms Manprit welcomed the dignitaries by presenting bouquets. Prof BR Natarajan who shared many interesting details including role of BITSAA said that it was immense pride for him that a student whom he had taught in 1982 is presently the Vice Chancellor of BITS Pilani. From Ragamalika Gharana of BITS, Vignesh sang Gorakh Kalyan Raag and Aditya was on Tabla. Dr Sanjiv Kumar Chaudhary proposed vote of thanks.
The first Prof. SSR Memorial Teaching Excellence Award was given to Dr P Srinivasan Professor Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department who is also Associate Dean of Practice School Division from the Pilani campus of BITS. The award included Rs. One Lakh in cash, a plaque and a Citation. Prof Srinivasan holds a BE Mechanical from REC – NIT Srinagar, ME & PhD from REC – NIT Tiruchirapalli. He has been teaching at BITS Pilani from 2006 and prior to that he had taught at SRM University Chennai and SASTRA Thanjavur. His research interests include Modelling and Simulation, Powder Metallurgy, Engineering Materials etc. Students whom he has taught in the past indeed vouch for his passion packed lectures.
For more details see https://www.bitsaa.org/
Notes to Editor
BITS Alumni Association (BITSAA) has emerged as one of the strongest alumni networks of any university. BITSAA International engages in charitable and educational activities by raising funds for setting up endowments, creating scholarships, rewarding teaching and research and generally promoting the development of resources at Birla Institute of Technology and Science at Pilani, Dubai, Goa & Hyderabad campuses. BITSAA International also aims to strengthen the ties, friendship and communication amongst former students, alumni faculty and friends of the Institute. BITSAA International provides a number of channels for people to stay connected with each other and with Birla Institute of Technology & Science. Notable other alumni initiatives for BITS Pilani include Guru Dakshina program by 70-75 batch to honour former faculty members, Prof Venkateswaran Faculty Excellence award by Karthik Krishna, Atma Nirbara multi crore Pilani Resource Centre by 75-80 batch alumni and many more.