Published: 27th November 2018
Odisha's first varsity, Utkal University, turns 75. Here's everything you need to know
Currently, Utkal University has 27 departments for postgraduate studies and research in various disciplines and also has 359 affiliated colleges
Utkal University, also known as Vani Vihar, the oldest university in Odisha and the 17th oldest university in India, turned 75 on Tuesday. Back on November 27, 1943, Odisha got its first ever university with the establishment of Utkal. The university began functioning with four colleges — one each in Parlakhemundi and Berhampur, the intermediate college at Ravenshaw Girls' School and Ravenshaw College. Dr Pranakrushna Parija, the then Principal of Ravenshaw College, Cuttack was the first Vice-Chancellor of Utkal University. Currently, the varsity has 27 departments for postgraduate studies and research in various disciplines. It has 359 affiliated colleges, and has jurisdiction over nine districts and also has been accredited with A+ by NAAC.
The varsity has been home to distinguished alumni including Sarojini Sahoo, who is an Orissa Sahitya Akademi Award winning Indian feminist writer, associate editor of Chennai-based English magazine Indian AGE, and has also been enlisted among 25 Exceptional Women of India by Kindle Magazine of Kolkata. She earned her MA and PhD degrees in Oriya Literature and a Bachelor of Law from Utkal University.
Bhanu Pratap Jena, who studied Zoology (Endocrinology) at Utkal University, Orissa, is currently an American cell biologist and professor of physiology at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. He also discovered the porosome in the mid ’90s.
In August this year, India Post had said that they would release a postage stamp to commemorate 75 years of the varsity. A proposal had been approved by the Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
The university conducted a series of programmes to mark its 75th foundation year. As part of its Platinum Jubilee celebration, students, faculty members and staff of the university participated in a mini-marathon 'Gatisheel Utkal' on Monday morning. Later on in the day, a national-level seminar titled 'Connecting the margins' was held on the campus. At the seminar, experts discussed how a university appears or is relevant when viewed from the perspective of the marginalised sections. The term marginalised was inclusive of women, Dalits, minority communities and persons living with disabilities.
A peace march involving students, staff and faculty members residing on the campus was also organised on Tuesday. An exhibition showcasing the practices of faculty members and research scholars was scheduled to be put up at the library and PG Council Hall. The Vice- Chancellor also launched a website dedicated to the University's alumni. Distinguished academician Prof Ravindra Kumar Jain, who is associated with Oxford University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and the University of Malaya, delivered the keynote address commemorating the occasion.
“It is a moment for celebration, nostalgia and an opportunity to take a leap into future. I urge all stakeholders of the university to avail the opportunity provided by the State Government and the Centre in terms of RUSA II and World Bank assistance and march on the path of innovation, creativity, and excellence,” the VC SM Patnaik said.