Infosys co-founder and chairman Nandan Nilekani has donated ₹315 crore to his alma mater Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay in one of the largest donations made by an alumnus in India.
The contribution builds upon his previous grants of ₹85 crore to the premier institute, bringing the cumulative value of his support to ₹400 crore.
"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," Nilekani says in a statement.
Nilekani joined IIT Bombay in 1973 for a Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. The donation marks the golden jubilee of Nilekani's association with the institute.
IIT Bombay's strategic plan for the coming decade includes setting up centres of excellence in strategic areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), green energy, quantum computing and others, and nurturing a deep tech start-up ecosystem. The plan envisages fundraising of about $500 million over the next five years. Nilekani's anchor contribution of $38.5 million is expected to help the institute kick-start its plans and inspire others to join this initiative.
"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," Nilekani said.
Over the last 50 years, Nilekani has stayed connected with the Institute in multiple roles. 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. His initial contribution totalling up to ₹85 crores over the years, was instrumental in constructing new hostels, co-financing the School of Information Technology, and establishing India's first university incubator, thereby boosting the startup ecosystem.
"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," said Prof. Subhasis Chaudhuri, director, IIT Bombay.