Infosys co-founder and non-executive chairman Nandan Nilekani on Tuesday donated Rs 315 crore ($38.5 million) to his alma mater, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, in one of the largest donations made by an alumnus of an educational institution in India.
The donation marks the golden jubilee of Nilekani’s association with IIT Bombay. He joined the institute in 1973 for a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was formally signed in Bengaluru by Nilekani and IIT Bombay Director Prof Subhasis Chaudhuri, said the institute’s public relations office. The donation will be instrumental in fostering world-class infrastructure, stimulating research in emerging areas of engineering and technology, and nurturing a deep tech startup ecosystem at IIT Bombay, it added.
“IIT Bombay has been a cornerstone in my life, shaping my formative years and laying the foundation for my journey. As I celebrate 50 years of my association with this esteemed Institution, I am grateful to give forward and contribute to its future. This donation is more than just a financial contribution; it is a tribute to the place that has given me so much and a commitment to the students who will shape our world tomorrow”, said Nilekani, who has stayed connected with the institute in multiple roles, over the last 50 years.
He served on the Board of the IIT Bombay Heritage Foundation from 1999 to 2009 and was on the Board of Governors from 2005 to 2011. He was awarded the prestigious Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1999, followed by an Honorary Doctorate in 2019 as part of the 57th convocation of IIT Bombay.
His initial contribution, totalling up to Rs 85 crore over the years, was instrumental in constructing new hostels, co-financing the School of Information Technology, and establishing India’s first university incubator, thereby significantly boosting the Indian startup ecosystem.
Pegging it as the beginning of a new era of IIT Bombay, Director Prof Chaudhuri said, “We are extremely delighted to see our illustrious alumnus Nandan Nilekani continuing his foundational and pioneering contributions to the Institute. This historic donation will significantly accelerate the growth of IIT Bombay and will firmly set it on a path of global leadership. IIT Bombay is committed to building research and academic excellence that can make India a leader in scientific discovery and its translation towards solving the pressing challenges facing humankind. Nandan’s contribution will catalyse philanthropic contributions towards advancing research & development at universities in India.”