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Ashoka University Celebrates 10th Founders’ Day: Reminiscing a Decade of Growth and Excellence

This year’s Founders' Day was special. Ashoka University achieved a historic milestone—10 successful years. Spread over two days, the event was attended by founders and others who have played an important role in building this institution

Day 1 in Delhi began with updates from the University leadership, with Chancellor Rudrangshu Mukherjee and Vice-Chancellor Somak Raychaudhury sharing anecdotes from their time at the University. Pramath Raj Sinha, Chairperson, Board of Trustees, Ashoka University, took the audience on a memorable journey—from the University’s inception to date.

“Ashoka started with 58 Young India Fellows in 2011. We will be recruiting our 14th batch of fellows this year. Our undergraduate programme started with 126 students, growing six times to 760+ students last year. With close to 2,500 undergraduate alumni, 2,200 YIF alumni, and the current cohort of 3,000 students on campus, Ashoka has so far touched the lives of more than 8,000 students,” Pramath shared.

Rudrangshu Mukherjee reminisced, “When Pramath offered me to come on board a decade ago, it was the last thing I really expected anybody to offer me. This is a very emotional moment for me, it has been 10 years.”

The University is set on the expansion of its campus to cover 100 acres, four times its current size, which will include a Science Park, a Makerspace Lab, the Trivedi School of Biosciences and various centres that will encourage the sciences to talk to each other.

The day also marked the launch of the Harish and Bina Shah School of Humanities. The School will offer majors, minors and double interdisciplinary majors in History, English, Philosophy, Media Studies, Creative Writing, Visual and Performing Arts and various Languages, within and with other Ashoka Schools. The School will also house Centres of Excellence including writing and communication, historical archaeology, translation and digital humanities.

Ashish Dhawan, Founding Chairperson, introduced Ashoka’s newest founders, including the Harish and Bina Shah Foundation (HBSF). As part of a panel discussion that had Harish, Bina and Amira Shah in conversation with Ashish, they spoke about building the School of Humanities and establishing Ashoka as a world-class university.

The evening concluded with a session where some faculty members presented the research they conducted at the University. The speakers included Ashwini Deshpande, Founding Director, Centre for Economic Data and Analysis (CEDA) and Professor of Economics; Anurag Agrawal, Dean Biosciences and Health Research, Trivedi School of Biosciences; Nayanjot Lahiri, Professor of History; and Pavan Mamidi, Director, Centre for Social and Behaviour Change.

Day 2 of Founders’ Day was held on the main university campus. The day commenced with a panel discussion with alumni and students, moderated by Aniha Brar, Dean, Young India Fellowship and Vice Chancellor’s Office, who talked to alumni-turned-founders, Jairaj Bhattacharya and Mahesh Jakhotia, about their Ashoka experience and the spirit of giving back. Raghvi Garg, Ashoka’s first Ph.D. graduate, spoke about how the University prepared her to overcome challenges. At the same time, Anulya P, a current master’s student talked about finding a home away from home here.

The highlight of the day was Ashoka Rasa. Students from different cohorts and programmes put together a captivating performance based on the nine rasas mentioned in the Natyashastra. The performances also focused on various disciplines housed under the School of Humanities. They included a mix of Indian classical and folk dances, ghazals and classical music recitals.

Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka