On the evening of Jan. 7, Penn State alumni came together from around Pune city and surrounding areas and as far away as Mumbai for dinner at the Marriot Hotel in Pune, India. The event was hosted by Michael Adewumi, vice provost for global programs; Mukund Kulkarni, chancellor of Penn State Harrisburg; Gary Lawler, chancellor of Penn State Hazleton; and Nimisha Thakur, an education abroad adviser in the University's office of global programs.
“The purpose for the trip to India was to strengthen Penn State’s global presence in India and make the University of Pune, and its affiliate colleges, one of our strategic partners,” Adewumi said. A kick-off event for the trip, the dinner brought together alumni from varied disciplines including industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, environmental systems and business.
“This gathering was only the beginning for a sustained relationship among the alums. We are hopeful that this group will help many others from Pune who are planning to get their education at Penn State,” said Kulkarni, who knew personally several of the alumni in attendance. Many of the alumni had not seen each other since graduating many years ago.
“There is something magical about time spent at one’s alma mater,” Adewumi said. “It was truly touching to see how Penn State transformed their lives and to hear their stories.”
For example, Aparna Chajied, a master’s graduate in industrial engineering, described how long it took her to acquaint herself with physical spaces at Penn State.
“Every day I took the CATA bus to campus and worked out at the White Building. For almost six months I then took the White Loop from the HUB to the White Building but didn’t realize for many months that the two buildings share a common wall! If you knew how directionally challenged I am, you would believe me,” Chajied said.
“It is interesting to see many American-educated Indians are returning to serve their country,” Lawler said, noting the shifting trends. Lawler believes this gives the University an opportunity to expand the network of Penn State across India.
A Facebook page was created called “Penn State Alumni – India” to help reunite friends and Penn State supporters across the country.
For more information on alumni in India, contact Kristy Catalano at firstname.lastname@example.org in the University office of global programs.