Not many know that the College of Engineering, Guindy, established in 1794, in erstwhile Madras, is the oldest technical education institution in India. The name under which it was established was The School of Survey, and sixty-five years later in 1895, it was renamed as College of Engineering.
To this day, it has retained not only its name but also the respect it continues to command in the community.
Even today, every school kid in Tamil Nadu aspires to make it to its hallowed portals.
With many firsts to its credit, the College of Engineering was perhaps the first in the country to introduce various streams of engineering such as mechanical, highway, electrical, telecommunication and printing. In fact, telecommunications was introduced as early as 1945.
In its 225th year of existence, we look at some of the illustrious alumni this great institution has produced.
1. Verghese Kurien
Known as the ‘Father of the White Revolution’, Kurien is credited with transforming India from a milk-deficient nation to the world’s largest milk producer.
It was because of his persistence that dairy farming became India’s largest self-sustaining industry.
He also made India self-sufficient in edible oils.
In 1943, he received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering, Guindy.
2. Raj Reddy
An Indian-American computer scientist and a winner of the Turing Award, Raj is one of the early pioneers of Artificial Intelligence.
He has served on the faculty of Stanford and Carnegie Mellon for over 40 years.
He was the Founding Director of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and was instrumental in helping create the Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies in India, to cater to the educational needs of the low-income and gifted rural youth.
In 1958, he received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from College of Engineering, Guindy.
3. P S Veeraraghavan
Regarded as one of India’s well-known space scientist and rocket technologist.
Veeraraghavan served as the Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and later on as one of the senior-most scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation.
Veeraraghavan is known for his contributions to launch vehicle technology, especially in the areas of integration and checkout and Inertial Systems of ISRO’s launch vehicles.
In 1969, he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the College of Engineering in Guindy.
4. Kanuri Lakshmana Rao
The recipient of the Padma Bhushan Award for his contribution in the spheres of irrigation and power, Rao also served as the Union Minister of Irrigation and Power and a Member of Parliament for Vijayawada from 1962 to 1977. Despite having lost vision in one eye due to an injury during his childhood, Rao never gave up on achieving great things.
Having designed and developed many dams, including the Nagarjuna Sagar, Bhakra and Farakka, he is considered the Father of India’s Water Management.
He is an alumnus of the Guindy College of Engineering as well.
The first woman to graduate with a telecommunications engineering degree, which was first introduced in India in 1945, Rajyalakshmi is what we refer to as a rockstar.
The third of 10 siblings, Rajyalakshmi was always encouraged by her parents to study.
In fact, her father also graduated from the prestigious College of Engineering, Guindy.
6. R K Baliga
Regarded as the Father of Electronics City in Bengaluru, Baliga is an alumnus of the College of Engineering. He was the Founding Head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Vice Principal in 1960 of the Manipal Institute of Technology.
Its illustrious alumni span not only the engineering fields but also various disciplines across sports, arts and business. Kris Srikkanth (Former Captain of the Indian Cricket team), Crazy Mohan (a renowned playwright), Ravi Ruia (Essar Group), Nagarjuna Akkineni (Telugu film personality), Venu Srinivasan (Chairman, TVS Motors) are but a few among the many notables who call the College of Engineering their alma mater.
We tip our hat to this temple of learning, and hope it continues to inspire and set high standards for us, and continues to instil the right values, beliefs and knowledge to its students, and to the society.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)