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News & Press: Oct 2008

Former BITS Pilani Director Dr CR Mitra passes away

Friday, October 31, 2008   (0 Comments)
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Dr. Chitta Ranjan Mitra who is the Dynamo Diro to BITSians world over breathed his last after a brief illness on Wednesday August 27, 2008 at Delhi. He was 82 years old. CRM is known as an institution builder and innovator in higher education. He is not only a thinker, but also a great planner and implementer. His work spans half a century in which he shaped three institutions of higher education, namely, HBTI Kanpur, BITS Pilani, and the NIIT Academy New Delhi. His ideas have indeed worked and survived the test of time.

Dr. Mitra studied in Allahabad University and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, before heading for the U.S. to do a master's programme in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Later he worked on a doctorate in Engineering Science from Columbia University, New York. Returning to India in the 1960s, Dr. Mitra first became HBTI director. In 1969 he was offered the Directorship of BITS Pilani. He is credited with putting the institute in the same league as the Indian Institutes of Technology. He was director until 1989.

Referred to fondly as 'CRM' by friends and colleagues, Dr. Mitra is survived by his wife and two children.

Dr. SP Kothari ('74) is a Managing Director and the Global Head of Equity Research at Barclays Global Investors in San Francisco. He also serves on the board of BITSAA International as its Chairman. He wrote this email to the children of Dr.CR.Mitra delivering his condolences.

Dear Babi and Anu,

I was saddened to learn that Dr. Mitra, your dad, breathed his last. I am
one of the countless BITS alumni who benefited from his visionary leadership, caring attitude, and passion for excellence. I still recall the fact that our "Diro" was a distinguished, accomplished intellectual made us all feel proud of our institution and that in itself is a tremendous contribution. As an academic myself, in retrospect, I can imagine how challenging it must have been for him to lead the faculty, deal with bright but at times unruly students, make do with limited resources, diplomatically navigate the education bureaucracy, and maintain academic independence and integrity in his relations with the generous patron, the Birla family. But he did it all with grace and charm and toughness and authority. His leadership set the tone for excellence at BITS, which has survived for decades after he retired as the Diro.

On my personal behalf and on behalf of BITSAA International, my heartfelt
condolences to you. You are in the prayers of the entire BITS community and we wish you strength in this difficult time.

With best regards,

Links: Full Story ; Hindu Article ; In Sandpaper

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