Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The former director of the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, C.R. Mitra, died here on Wednesday.

Known as an institution builder and innovator in higher education, Mr. Mitra was instrumental in giving shape and direction to not only the BITS but also the Harcourt Butler Technological Institute (HBTI), Kanpur, and the National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT).

Mr. Mitra studied in Allahabad University and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, before heading for the U.S. to do a master’s programme in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Later he worked on a doctorate in Engineering Science from Columbia University, New York.

Returning to India in the 1960s, Mr. Mitra first became HBTI director. In 1969, he was offered BITS directorship.

He is credited with putting the institute in the same league as the Indian Institutes of Technology.

Leadership qualities

Recognised for his leadership qualities, Mr. Mitra, author of several books on higher education, was twice president of the Association of Indian Universities. Also, he was the first Asian to become president of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Referred to fondly as ‘CRM’ by friends and colleagues, Mr. Mitra is survived by his wife and two children.