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Alumnus Nandan Nilekani Makes History with ₹315 Crore Donation to IIT Bombay

Nilekani's Philanthropy Ignites Transformation at IIT Bombay

20 June 2023

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Kunal Tyagi

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  • Nandan Nilekani, co-founder and non-executive chairman of Infosys, donates Rs 315 crore ($38.5 million) to IIT Bombay, one of the largest donations by an alumnus in India.

  • The donation will enhance infrastructure, stimulate research in emerging engineering areas, and nurture a deep tech startup ecosystem at IIT Bombay.

  • Nilekani's longstanding association with IIT Bombay and his previous contributions have already played a significant role in boosting the institute's development, including the establishment of India's first university incubator.

Nandan Nilekani, the co-founder and non-executive chairman of Infosys, recently made a remarkable donation of Rs 315 crore ($38.5 million) to his alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. This generous contribution, one of the largest ever made by an alumnus of an educational institution in India, coincides with the golden jubilee of Nilekani's association with IIT Bombay. The funds will be instrumental in enhancing infrastructure, promoting cutting-edge research in emerging engineering fields, and fostering a thriving deep-tech startup ecosystem at the institute.


Nilekani's Association with IIT Bombay:


Nandan Nilekani's deep-rooted connection with IIT Bombay began in 1973 when he enrolled in the institute for a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. Since then, Nilekani has remained closely connected with the institution, serving on the Board of the IIT Bombay Heritage Foundation and the Board of Governors. Recognizing his exceptional contributions, Nilekani was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1999 and received an Honorary Doctorate in 2019 during IIT Bombay's 57th convocation.


A Tribute to a Transformative Institution:


Expressing his gratitude and commitment to IIT Bombay, Nilekani remarked, "IIT Bombay has been a cornerstone in my life, shaping my formative years and laying the foundation for my journey." His generous donation goes beyond mere financial support; it is a tribute to the place that has given him so much and a dedication to the students who will shape our future. Nilekani's initial contributions totaling Rs 85 crore have already played a vital role in constructing hostels, supporting the School of Information Technology, and establishing India's first university incubator, thereby boosting the country's startup ecosystem.


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The Dawn of a New Era for IIT Bombay:


IIT Bombay Director Prof Subhasis Chaudhuri hailed Nilekani's donation as the beginning of a new era for the institution. He expressed immense delight at seeing an illustrious alumnus like Nilekani continuing to contribute to the institute's growth and progress. The historic donation will significantly accelerate IIT Bombay's journey towards global leadership, fostering research and academic excellence. It will also catalyze further philanthropic contributions that advance research and development at universities across India.


Nurturing Innovation and Excellence:


With this transformative donation, IIT Bombay aims to establish world-class centers of excellence in strategic areas such as Artificial Intelligence, green energy, and quantum computing. These centers will fuel research and innovation while nurturing a vibrant deep-tech startup ecosystem. The institute's strategic plan for the next decade focuses on providing top-notch research facilities, living spaces, and academic resources to students and faculty members. The goal is to make India a leader in scientific discovery and to address the pressing challenges faced by humanity.


Philanthropy and Education:


Nilekani's philanthropic gesture aligns with a broader trend among Indian technology pioneers who prioritize education in their charitable efforts. Notably, billionaire Azim Premji of Wipro Ltd. made significant donations to his education-focused charitable arm, while Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy contributed over $5 million to Harvard University for the study of India's literary heritage. These acts of giving demonstrate a deep commitment to nurturing the next generation and empowering educational institutions.

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