The pioneer batch of Thiagarajar College of Engineering gathered for their Golden Jubilee Celebrations
From Madurai to Montreal and now back to the Temple City, P.V. Raghupathy’s journey as an engineer has come full circle. As a septuagenarian, he returned to his alma mater this time carrying sweet memories of his college days and to meet the friends with whom he shared some of life’s unforgettable moments 50years ago.
His is not a one-off story. There are many such stories at the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the pioneer batch of engineers of Thiagarajar College of Engineering.
The alumni of 1962 gathered here for a get together, some walking with the support of crutches and friends.
“Still I remember the days I roamed around the college,” says N.S. Krishnan, secretary of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations Committee. “Each one of us was personally interviewed by the renowned educationist Karumuttu Thiagarajan Chettiar. It remains green in our memories.”
Sharing one funny moment, Raghupathy says, “One Saturday, I decided to go to a movie with three of my friends. Only then I found that I had no money. Frustrated, I made up my mind and settled down to read a textbook. As I turned the pages, a five rupee note slipped from the book. I felt so happy and learnt a lesson that through academic excellence you could fulfil your financial requirements.” He turned out to be the topper in his class.
“At that time there were no concrete structures except the main building that housed laboratories,” says T. Annaraja, president of the committee. On the other hand, it was a more secure time for graduates. "In those days, even before we completed final examinations, appointment orders reached our homes,” he reminisces.
It took more than a year for the team to trace the address of college mates. “Luckily for us, we were able to locate most of our classmates through common friends,” says Annaraja.
“Of the 98 persons graduated, 20 are no more and we could not trace the addresses of five persons,” he says. “Of the five residing in foreign countries, only two could turn up for the event. We could trace those who were in Government service. We contacted our classmates in Chennai and they chipped in with a couple of addresses."
The team grew in confidence once the number of persons swelled. “In our first meeting in Madurai we formed a committee and decided to organise a function,” says Krishnan. “In the subsequent meetings in Chennai we fixed the date,” he adds.
“Initially, we wanted to organise the event during summer vacation. But, the college management asked us to postpone it to June, so that the present crop of students could meet the first batch of the college,” says Annaraja.
The committee traced the whereabouts of not only their classmates but also the professors and honoured them.
As a mark of respect to the institution which shaped their career, they donated a corpus fund of Rs.3.5 lakhs to help deserving students without means to study further. The group members spent the whole day in the college and departed with a vow to meet once a year.