The University of South Florida has announced a postgraduate annual scholarship worth Rs 1 crore in the name of former President APJ Abdul Kalam to Indian students from the next academic year.
The award is open to Indians seeking to pursue PhD in specified fields of science and engineering at the University of South Florida.
In a letter addressed to V. Ponraj, Scientific Advisor and a close aide to the former President, the university’s Vice Provost Roger Brindley said one award will be offered each academic year, effective from the 2016-17. Scholarship holders would be given a fee waiver for four years (amounting to $84,500 in four years), plus a stipend of $18,000 per year.
He said Dr. Kalam was an honoured visitor to the University of South Florida in 2012 and gave a marvellous talk on green energy and sustainability. “Like all of India – and the world – we heard of his passing away with great sorrow. I want to commend you and his family for the wonderful work you are doing to perpetuate his legacy,” he said in the letter.
Dr Brindley, who is also the System Associate Vice President for University of South Florida, said students and faculty members had been thinking of honour Kalam’s extraordinary life and decided to name a postgraduate scholarship for Indian students in his name. Commending Mr. Ponraj for underscoring the importance good education as always desired by Dr. Kalam, he said through the scholarship the university hoped to offer exactly the same to highly talented young Indians.
Mr. Ponraj said he was extremely happy that the University of South Florida had chosen to offer such a huge scholarship to Indian students desiring to pursue research in the US. “There cannot be a more fitting tribute to a former Indian President by a foreign university,” he said. Recalling the association of Dr. Kalam with the US, he said the former President had addressed eight space sharing nations and gave an aerospace vision 2050.
“That vision concept kindled the minds of scientists in the US promoting the US National Space Society to announce the Dr. Kalam NSS Space Solar Powered Mission. This only proves that Dr. Kalam has transcended boundaries to enlighten the people across the world,” Mr. Ponraj said.