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Meeting the IU family

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Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (Saturday night)

This is IU so the question was bound to come up, even 8,000 miles from home.

“So how’s the basketball team going to do this year?” asked a young Mumbai alumnus shortly after introducing himself.

After assuring him that we were going to be better once again this year, and that I was convinced Coach Crean had the Hoosier hoops ship headed in the right direction (someone please tell Coach I was out recruiting the fan base for him, I’m dying to get a Twitter shout out), talk turned to another of the prevalent topics of the evening: The beauty of the IU experience.

“I really miss Bloomington.”

School of Informatics and Computing Dean Bobby Schnabel speaks to IU alumni during a reception at the Mumbai Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

“I had a great time at IU.”

“I learned a lot from my IU experience.”

The drumbeat of praise and fond memories for IU continued all evening as we shared dinner and stories with nearly 40 members of the Mumbai chapter of the IU Alumni Association at a wonderful event at our hotel. Chapter Founder and President Gaurav Parikh (BS ’02), a high-energy Kelley School graduate who returned home to Mumbai to help run the family business, introduced President McRobbie.

The president spoke of his only other visit to India – when he was 4-years-old and his family stopped in Mumbai (then Bombay) en route from Australia to England by ship – and then shared the expected highlights of our current trip to India, and the strong ties between Indiana, IU and India.

He also shared a little history, such as the fact that IU’s first Indian graduate was Konigapogu Joseph Devadanam, who received a BA in psychology in 1930, and that in August 1948 IU President Herman B Wells joined about 200 people from the Bloomington campus and the community, along with IU’s Indian students, to celebrate the first year of India’s independence.

Eric DeHaan, director of international alumni relations, tells me that IU has more than 2,300 Indian alumni, with approximately 400 currently living in India. It was great fun to make new friends from among the IU family and terrific to see that no matter where our alumni live, IU is never far from their hearts.

Thanks to Eric for pulling together an outstanding event and to Gaurav for his leadership of the chapter. And, of course, to our alumni who weathered the steady rain (did I mention it was monsoon season here) for providing a perfect ending to our first full day in India.


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