Abdul Kalam visiting his alma mater today to inaugurate an international conference
Kalam did Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering here"He inspires everyone and always liked young minds"
CHENNAI: The Madras Institute of Technology, Chromepet, will welcome on Friday a former student, respected and admired by crores of Indians cutting across generations.
The President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam, will be visiting his alma mater after a gap of five years to inaugurate an international conference on signal processing, communications and networking at MIT. Mr. Kalam completed his DMIT (Diploma in MIT) in Aeronautical Engineering from the Department of Aerospace Engineering in 1957. MIT, according to faculty members, was the first institution in India to offer a post-B.Sc course in Aeronautical Engineering; it was among three other departments started when the institution was founded by Chinnaswami Rajam in 1949. During Mr. Kalam's time as a student, the Head of the Department was W. Repenthin, a German. "Mr. Kalam developed a special bonding with Professors K.A.V. Pandalai and S. Narasimhan," remarked A. Joseph Stanley, Head, Department of Aerospace Engineering.
Mr. Kalam was instrumental in establishing the Professor K.A.V. Pandalai Chair in the Department with support from the Aerospace Research and Development Board. Professor Pandalai was the Department Head between 1960 and 1967, followed by Professor Narasimhan from 1967 to 1980. As a student, Mr. Kalam was extremely hard working, spending no less than 16 hours a day on his studies, said J. Shanmugham, Professor of Avionics, Department of Electronics Engineering. Professors recalled the time when Mr. Kalam walked across the railway track to reach the institute in time for a lecture, a few months before he assumed the highest office in the country in July 2002.
Mr. Kalam's contribution as Project Director to the successful launch of the Satellite Launch Vehicle - 3 (SLV-3) and injection of the Rohini satellite into orbit in July 1980 was immense, professors said, adding he received overwhelming response when he visited MIT after that.
"Mr. Kalam maintained and continues to maintain a close, fond association with MIT," Mr. Stanley said.
During his tenure as Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister and Secretary, Department of Defence Research and Development, Mr. Kalam also headed the Golden Jubilee Celebrations committee of MIT in 1999.
Faculty members recall his interactions with students and teachers during his visits.
After serving as Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India in the rank of a Cabinet Minister, Mr. Kalam became Emeritus Professor of Technology and Societal Transformation at Anna University in 2001. During that period, he visited MIT for two successive days, interacting with students and delivering lectures on societal transformation, said P. Kanagasabapathy, Dean, MIT. "Emphasising team spirit, he inspired everyone and always liked young minds," the Dean remarked.