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Ravenshaw becomes university

Pradip Kumar Das

Former IAS officer Debdas Chhotray takes charge as Vice-Chancellor

Cuttack: The famous Ravenshaw College of Cuttack, the glory of Orissa, became a Unitary University on Wednesday when former Bihar cadre IAS officer Debdas Chhotray joined it as its first Vice-Chancellor following the notification issued by the State Government earlier in the morning.

Mr. Chhotray, an alumni of the institution, arrived on the campus around 4.15 pm amid a mild protest by a section of students. The waiting policemen and staff of the college immediately ushered him into the principal's chamber. He took charge at 4.30 pm amid a round of applause from teachers, staff, students, members of the alumni association, educationists and eminent citizens of the city.

From an autonomous college to the status of a Unitary University, the century-old institution got its due status after a long wait.

While laying the foundation stone of the imposing campus of the college spread over an area of 87 acres in 1922, former Lt Governor of Bihar and Orissa Sir Edward Gait had wished that the college would one day be converted into a university.

The dream of this great thinker and educationist came alive after 84 years.

Priorities

Speaking to mediapersons after assuming charge, Mr. Chhotray said his priorities would be to restore the glory of the campus.

"Ravanshaw is known worldwide for its academic excellence and I will serve this great institution to the best of my ability," he said.

Admitting that the new assignment was challenging, the new V-C expressed the confidence that he would try to bring about changes both in form and content by preserving the institution's rich traditions and values.

"I am back to my alma mater after four decades with a new role and I will definitely justify my selection to the coveted post," Mr. Chhotray, who quit the IAS to join the university, said.

The Ravenshaw University University Bill was passed in the Assembly on April 6, 2005.

Governor Rameswar Thakur had given his assent to the Bill immediately.

However, opinion was divided on choice of the VC candidate.

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