Pune: COEP Receives Rs 8.25 Crore Donation From Ex-Student Towards Nurturing Technological Talent

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Sharveya Parasnis

Pune, 21st December 2022: COEP (College of Engineering Pune) Technological University, one of the oldest engineering schools in the country, has just received an endowment of one million USD. This endowment will be used to cover the tuition and living expenses of talented but underprivileged students.

The grant was given by Ashish Achlerkar, an alumnus of the institute and an American entrepreneur and philanthropist. The fund will be managed by the Student Support Club, an alumni association that helps students in need.

Speaking at a press conference at the COEP campus, Achlerkar expressed his desire to support the personal advancement of the students at the university.

Achlerkar earned his BE from COEP in 2000 and proceeded to work at Bajaj Auto and MCA solutions. He later went on to earn an MBA from the prestigious University of Chicago Booth School of Business and worked as an M&A investment banker. Today, he is the founder of NearU, a home services startup and runs the Achlerkar Foundation, a philanthropic organisation.

“One of my core missions—and the mission of the Achlerkar Foundation—is to help better people’s lives,” said Achlerkar. “A key driver of personal advancement is receiving a high-quality education. This is why the first philanthropic theme of the Achlerkar Foundation is to support educational causes across the globe. Through this endowment, we are kickstarting our desire to help support thousands of talented students at various educational institutions across the world, including skilled trades institutes. I am aware that bright students across the country come to COEP, and some of them come from humble backgrounds. What this alma mater has given me cannot be returned: it can only be paid forward. I am fortunate that I have this opportunity to pay it forward.”

One of the oldest engineering schools in the country, COEP has more than 50,000 alumni across the globe.

Dr Mukul Sutaone, Vice Chancellor of the University, said, “This is one of the largest donations the COEP has ever received.”

Mohit Gundecha, a Board Member of the COEP Alumni Association, said that the needy students will not have to worry about tuition fees, hostel fees, food, and laptops.

This endowment from the Achlerkar Foundation will represent one of the largest gifts ever received by COEP in its 168-year history. The focus of the endowment will be to support talented COEP students, helping to cover the cost of their tuition and living expenses. The school expects the fund to be able to support 100-150 COEP students every year.

The endowment fund will be managed by the COEP Student Support Club, under the umbrella of the Alumni Association of COEP. The endowment will be in the name of Vijaykumar Achlerkar and Shyamrao Kulkarni, Achlerkar’s late father and late father-in-law, respectively.

In explaining the applicant evaluation process for eligible students, Professor Sudhir Agashe, Co-Curator of the COEP Student Support Club said, “There is a screening committee composed of donor alumni and COEP faculty to evaluate the applications from deserving students. This committee runs multiple rounds of evaluation including interviewing the candidates and understanding their backgrounds. The goal of the COEP Student Support Club is to enable COEP alumni across the globe to provide COEP students with funding, mentoring, and opportunities. We are grateful to all our donors. When Ashish reached out to us to let us know about this endowment that he wanted to set up, we were thrilled about his commitment and his vision for the years to come.”

Suruchi Wagh, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at Jombay, and the Co-Curator of the COEP Student Support Club, said, “Nobody has gotten poor by giving. COEP has given a lot to all of us alumni, and the COEP Student Support Club is our way to give back to this great institution. I want to appeal to all of the 50,000+ COEP alumni around the world to join the efforts of the COEP Alumni Association to give back to our alma mater, the faculty, and the students. Neha Nahar at the COEP Support Club is doing a great job in helping COEP connect with successful alumni such as Ashish. We all should support her and the Alumni Association’s efforts.”

COEP counts illustrious alumni including individuals such as Laxman Narasimhan (incoming CEO of Starbucks), Thomas Kailath (Stanford University Professor and National Medal of Science winner), Nickhil Jakatadar (CEO of Genepath), Haresh Shah (Stanford University Professor and Founder of RMS Inc.), Sandeep Johri (Board Member at Tricentis), Narendra Kale (Founder Kale Logistics), Rajiv Bajaj (MD of Bajaj Auto), Vinayak Pai (CEO of Tata Projects), Sanjeev Bajaj (MD of Bajaj Finserv), Pankaj Pawar (MD of Reliance Jio), Hrushi Sagar (Tesla Gigafactory), Vaibhav Domkundwar (MD of Better Capital), Swapnil & Snehal Shinde (Zeni), Gaur Gopal Das (Author, Monk) among many others.

COEP Alumni Association office bearers include President – Bharat Gite (President), Professor Sujit Pardeshi (Secretary), and Ankita Chordia (Treasurer). COEP Student Support Club is led by Prof. Sudhir Agashe, Suruchi Wagh and Mohit Gundecha, while day-to-day activities are managed by Neha Nahar. For enquiries, please contact [email protected]

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