T.R. Jagadeesan, the first director of Anna University, said the institution had built its reputation over several decades, and a change in its name would mean it would have to start from scratch all over again
Anna University’s first director has written to Governor-Chancellor Banwarilal Purohit appealing to him to retain the institution’s present name.
This comes amidst ongoing protests by current faculty as well as alumni of the University, following the Tamil Nadu government’s proposed name change for the University to Anna Technological and Research University.
The institution was built to create a world class university, the former faculty have pointed out. Back in 1978, when the University was formed, its name had been changed as people could not pronounce it, said T.R. Jagadeesan, the first director of Anna University.. The first choice for name was Madras University of Science and Technology (MUST). Later it was changed to Peraringar Anna University. The first part of the name had to be dropped, as people often wrongly spelled/pronounced the name.
Also, while initially, the College of Engineering, Guindy, was considered for University status, the University Grants Commission returned the proposal to the State advising it to include the School of Architecture and Planning, Madras Institute of Technology, and Alagappa College of Technology. He pointed out that it was the then Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran’s aim to build a world class technical university. He, along with a few faculty members, began the onerous task of drafting the statutes, the curriculum and syllabi for the institution, which is followed till date, said the octogenarian.
The former director said the institution had built its reputation over several decades. The change in name would mean the institution would have to start from scratch as every research publication and the funding the university receives are provided on the strength of the work done at the institution.
“All the Memoranda of Understanding signed with industries and other universities as Anna University, by the four colleges, will become null and void. The recognition for research obtained by the faculty in the form of Scopus Index, QS ranking, H-index, i10 index will rest with only Anna University and thus will go out of the hands of those who toiled hard to obtain them,” he said in the letter.
A large number of ongoing projects obtained as Anna University by the four colleges will be questionable to continue here in this place, by the investigators and departments who obtained them. The faculty will not be able to apply for any funding or fellowship until such time as this university, under a new name, establishes itself. Students will be passing out with degrees from an unknown University. Leading industries that recruit the students now through campus placements also will hesitate for some time to come, he has explained to the Governor.
He pointed out that the University had been chosen for the Institute of Eminence (IOE) status in August 2019 and since the consent for the same is still pending with the State government it is necessary to retain the name “to realise the IOE status in the near future”.
Mr. Jagadeesan said: “The educational empire we have built based on our knowledge, experience, passion, and perseverance will become extinct just by a stroke of a pen in your hands in approving the bill. Hence, we humbly request His Excellency to urge the Government to modify the bill suitably so that the Unitary University hitherto restored can retain its original name – Anna University and the affiliating university named suitably based on the sentiments of the people and the Government.”