December 19, 2016

“When you take the free will out of education, that turns it into schooling.” – John Taylor Gatto

An institution that privileges free will is one that survives. Presidency University is one such institution. From Nobel laureates, scientists, writers and filmmakers to successful entrepreneurs and philanthropists, the Presidency University’s list of alumni and alumnae is astonishing in range. Former students of Hindoo College, Presidency College and Presidency University have firmly put their alma mater on the international map.

The Vice-Chancellor of Presidency University announced on 19 October 2016 the plans for celebrating the bicentenary near that starts in January 2017. With the legacy of Presidency University dating back to 1817, 2017 will be the 200th birthday of the beginning of classes in Hindoo College at Chitpore Road, Kolkata. The rest is a strong and unbroken history of exceptional academic achievements and reputation.

Eminent citizens founded Hindu College to impart modern—largely, though not entirely, Western—education to Indian Hindus, although the curriculum was secular. The College soon produced liberals and free thinkers trained by such teachers as Henry Louis Vivian Derozio and David Lester Richardson. In 1855, the College was turned into a government college for the Presidency of Bengal, and was re-named Presidency College. Open to all religions and communities, it was separated from the Junior Section, which now survives as Hindu School.
Great men and women such as Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Debendranath Tagore, Satyendranath Tagore, Jyotirindranath Tagore, Anandaram Barua, Swami Vivekananda, Chittaranjan Das, Rajendra Prasad, Asutosh Mukherjee, Meghnad Saha, Satyendranath Bose, Shyamaprasad Mukherjee, Fazlul Haq, Humayun Kabir, Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, Pramathesh Barua, Ashok Kumar, Manik Bandyopadhyay, Jibanananda Das, Sukumar Ray, Satyajit Ray, Sankha Ghosh, Sakti Chattopadhyay, Amal Raychaudhuri, Taraknath Sen, Amartya Sen and Gayatri Spivak once attended classes at Presidency College. Apart from these few, there are countless other students of the institution, who have contributed to international learning and public life.

For the Global Education Summit, the University invited scholars, scientists, authors and academic administrators from all over the world to come and join the event. Intellectual leaders such as Jean Tirole, Amartya Sen, Muhammad Yunus, Charles Bailyn, Pranab Bardhan, Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, Amit Bhaduri, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Sugata Bose, Mammen Chandy, Dorairajan Balasubramanian, H Shivaprakash, Valerie Amos Baroness Amos, and Amitav Ghosh will be at the summit. Cultural performances will feature acclaimed artistes Vaiyu Naidu, Navtej Singh Johar, and Indian Ocean. Presidency alumni groups across the world will celebrate the anniversary. It is going to be a rich experience and a year of promise for students, members of the faculty and the administrators of the University.

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