This article is a joint effort of a virtual global alumni team (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bec_scholarship). The article is compiled and is co-ordinated by Rajdeep Dutta, 1988EE, Muscat, OMAN.
BESUS Alumni Scholarship Programme – A Global Bonding of the Past and the Present
Alumni of erstwhile Bengal Engineering College, currently known as Bengal Engineering & Science University, Shibpur (BESUS), not only cherish the memories of 4 or 5 years of their golden days during their formative years at the green residential college campus, but also have been active in raising funds through generous voluntary alumni contribution whenever some alumni had come up with a proposal of helping either a student or enhancing the infrastructure of their alma mater. A few landmarks in the college created through the alumni-donated funds are: Computer Network (Local Area Network - LAN), Purabi Das School of Information Technology (PDSIT), Ganapati Sengupta VLSI Laboratory (Computer Chip Design Laboratory), Promoda Lodh Laboratory for Mobile Computing Research, Mini-auditorium (Seminar Room). Several other successful alumni-sponsored projects are also pointers towards the achievement of their Alma Mater.
Alumni are proud of the alumni scholarship program, which has drawn the highest number of alumni participation all over the world. This program is becoming more popular because it not only provides a bridge between the alumni and the current bright but financially weak students (mostly from a rural background), but it also gives them personal satisfaction in getting directly involved with the future alumni of their alma mater. In the process, they pay partial debt to the Govt. and the taxpayers who had supported B E College in giving them subsidized education. This also is creating a right value among the current students in BESUS to become successful professionals in the future, and has set an example of extending help to other needy students in their career.
Alumni of BESUS happily announce the Alumni Scholarships Program for year 2005-06 have selected 34 bright but needy students of BESUS to receive scholarships amounting to a total of Rs 3.40 lakhs this year [Complete List for 2005-06, PDF]. Additionally 4 book grants of Rs. 1000 each will also be awarded this year to four students. Alumni from India, Middle East, and North America worked together in organizing the scholarships program. Constant coordination was maintained with Vivekananda Youth Circle (VYC), a campus based organization of students-faculty-staff of BESUS, for this purpose. Alumni are aiming at increasing the number of scholarships to at least 50 (scholarships amounting to a total of Rs. 5 lakhs) for the year 2006-07 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of their alma mater. The objective of this effort is to enlighten the financially constrained students of BESUS to focus on their career, becoming responsible alumni and developing a culture of cooperation & gratitude in them.
The seed of this effort was planted several years ago when a few alumni in the USA met and discussed the possible ways of showing gratitude to their alma mater. California residents, Subrata Ghosh (1984 ME) and Swapan Saha (1988 EE) proposed starting of a scholarship program with limited resources in 1997. This had triggered the process of collective participation in launching larger projects in helping the alma mater. They also launched an alumni web site, http://www.becollege.org in 1998 which has been adopted by the Global Alumni Association as its official website. The site, available for 24 hours a day and 7 days in a week, provides the list of donors, criteria for the award of scholarships to the current students in BESUS, names of scholarship recipients, and all the other relevant information on scholarship program. Tanmay Das (1986 CST) residing in Virginia and Sripati Bhattacharya (1963 EE) residing in California joined the team of Subrata Ghosh & Swapan Saha and raised a fund around US$ 40,000 to award more than 12 scholarships every year from its interest. The team had received a non-profit status (NGO) in the USA. The team has helped the BECAA - USA chapters in awarding more than 70 scholarships to deserving students of BESUS till 2004.
Elizabeth Sengupta residing in Indiana (USA) and wife of late Ganapati Sengupta (1959 MetE) had said, "My husband strongly believed that education had been one of the most important key to his success in life, which influenced him to create funds to help young people in continuing their education. Before leaving for the heavenly abode he often expressed his wish to fund scholarships for engineering students at Bengal Engineering College. Till his death, he was actively searching for a legitimate and monitored channel to distribute such scholarships to the students. After his expiry, I have found the website for the Bengal Engineering College Alumni Association, http://www.becollege.org which is offering opportunities to fund such scholarships."
Arunabha Saha (1966 CE) and Anuradha Saha (1969 EE) staying in California are strong proponents of the alumni scholarship program. They have donated funds to award 3 memorial scholarships in the name of their parents. Their decision certainly offers a tribute to the departed souls while providing the way to set an example of creating a difference in the lives of individual students. Other notable alumni namely, Prabir Bagchi, Sripati Bhattacharya, Saswata Misra, Piyali Ray, BECAA Southern California Chapter and 25 other alumni have also donated generously in this program along with the family of alumnus late Satyabrata Roy
[USA & Candian Donors List].
Around that time, the faculty and students of B.E. College along with a few alumni started a similar mission under the banner of Vivekananda Youth Circle (VYC) to help financially weaker students studying in B E College. Since 1995, VYC has been awarding the Vivekananda Youth Scholarships. Initially the fund for the scholarships was raised from the contribution from the faculty members and the students of B E College. Later, generous support started arriving from the alumni in India, Oman, Kuwait and UAE, who joined hands with VYC in this mission. Arun K. Deb, Anupam Bagchi, Sanjib Chaki, Sougata Roy, Joydeep Bhattacharya, Sanjoy Ghosh and others also supported the program individually. In 2004, VYC had awarded a total 14 Vivekananda Youth Scholarships to the needy students of BECDU (now BESUS).
B. E College Alumni Association (BECAA) - Kuwait chapter has not only shared this pride of belonging to this community, but also showed its desire to be counted with its humble and insignificant contribution. Since its inception in 1999, Kuwait chapter stood firm in its commitment to support and share the noble endeavor of VYC to financially support the needy and meritorious students of BESUS, whose aspiration to brighten their future otherwise would have remained unfulfilled. Kuwait Chapter is currently awarding 2 Scholarships of Rs.10,000 each and 2 book grants of Rs. 1,000 each. This year Kuwait chapter had assured that their sincere effort would be towards increasing the number of scholarships in the coming years.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) chapter contributed 3 scholarships in 2003 and 5 in 2004. Somnath Sinha Roy (1987 Arch) from Abu Dhabi had sent a draft for Rs. 60,000/- to VYC on behalf of UAE chapter to sponsor 6 scholarships this year. In addition, Tapan Kumar Gautam (1978 E&TC) is continuing his sponsorship for one scholarship per year, which he had started in 2003, and Tanusree Chakrabarty & Nirjhar Chakrabarty, an alumni couple (both 1991 CE) based in Dubai are sponsoring one memorial scholarship this year.
BECAA - Oman chapter, Muscat, was inaugurated in February 2005 and the Advisory Board & Executive Committee were officially formed in the First General Body Meeting. A total of 35 alumni & their families had attended the meeting. A proposal of giving Alumni Scholarships to the current students in BESUS was supported overwhelmingly by all the alumni present in the meeting, and a scholarship fund was raised immediately with the spontaneous support of the members. The fund was sufficient to award minimum 3 scholarships in 2005. Later on completion of the selection process, on behalf of the Advisory Board of BECAA -Oman, Muscat Prof. (Dr.) Dipak Chaudhuri (1968 ME) had sent a draft of Rs. 30,000/- to VYC. In addition, Rajdeep Dutta (1988 EE) decided to continue sponsoring 2 scholarships which he had been doing each year since 2003. Accordingly he had sent additional Rs. 20,000 to VYC for the two scholarships in 2005. Soumitra Chatterjee (1982 Arch) and Debjani Chatterjee (1985 E&TC) who had sent Rs. 5000/- to VYC towards their joint contribution to the scholarships fund in 2004, had decided to sponsor 2 book grants & one scholarship, amounting Rs. 12,000 in 2005.
Alumni in Canada joined other chapters in 2005 to honor late Sandip Sinha (1991 ME) whose sudden demise in 2004 shocked the alumni community. Pranesh Biswas (1990 CE) from Alberta, Canada took an initiative to start a new memorial scholarship in the name of their departed friend.
In 2004 BECAA Maharasthra chapter joined USA team in awarding scholarships to the BESUS students. Achintya Das (1968 EE) coordinated the efforts in Maharasthra chapter. In 2005, Sukanta Roy (1977 E&TC) joined the team and the chapter had increased the number of scholarships to four (amounting to Rs. 40,000) this year.
Alumni activities are being carried out with individual passion and fervor. Since 2003 alumni around the world joined the community of B E College to obtain its rightly deserving IIT/INI status. To leverage the new network among different geographical locations and across batches, it was decided to unify all alumni scholarship initiatives together and run it with a global alumni team in active cooperation with VYC and BESUS authorities. A global team was formed and a common guideline had been formulated. To unify the selection process, a common application form was distributed to all the prospective students of BESUS. VYC, BESUS and the alumni chapters of North America, Middle East & India worked together and selected 34 students for the award of scholarships of Rs. 10,000/- each.
The chasm between the past and the present will be filled; the international boundaries will be bridged because of our inherent desire to remain unified. This unity and bondage will definitely bring the alumni community, BESUS faculty and the current students closer. The unity and the bondage shall increase with every achievement in the years to come.
[Complete List for 2005-06, PDF]
Please also read http://www.becollege.org/news/news_item.asp?NewsID=200 for another article on this same "Successful Alumni Project Series" about VLSI Lab. In case you or your chapter wants to join this global scholarship effort, please contact gbecaa AT yahoo.com.
Alumni and alumni families in the USA, Canada and UK can contribute to the "Alumni Scholarship Funds" online clicking the following link.