Substantive acts of giving — in the form of knowledge, money or participation — are key in building institutions of excellence, Subroto Bagchi, chairman of the Odisha Skill Development Authority (OSDA), said on Wednesday.
Bagchi was speaking at the 2022 convocation of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) here.
He said he learnt from people like Jimmy Treybig — founder of a former Fortune 500 tech company who also remained active in his work as the chairman of a local school board — the importance of big commitments to small institutions.
“Of course, they need the money, but more than that, they need our involvement. We can only be great global citizens when we make ourselves locally relevant,” the Mindtree co-founder said.
Acts of generosity
Bagchi noted that institutions, including Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Princeton, were built over time by the generosity of people who could “write a cheque and simply walk away” from it.
“Small acts of generosity are most definitely significant. But institution-building is a different game altogether. Minimalism does not work here. You need large hearts, large purses and large acts of giving,” he said.
In February this year, Bagchi and wife Susmita, along with philanthropist couple Radha and N S Parthasarathy, donated Rs 425 crore toward establishing a post-graduate medical school and a multispecialty hospital on the IISc campus.
This is the largest single private donation received by the institution, which was founded in 1909.
Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chair of the IISc council, said that the contributions from philanthropists and increased funding from the industry would benefit the work of scientific institutions in translating knowledge to its applications.
Gopalakrishnan expressed hope that adapting to new capabilities in digital technology, a need that was “forced” by the pandemic, would remain a feature of normal life.
Referring to the disruption in research and studies caused by the pandemic, Prof G Rangarajan, director of the IISc, called it a “trial by fire” for the students.