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When I came to Kanpur first to join as the Director of the Institute, almost everybody I met in Kanpur asked me..if I had wanted to commit professional suicide, I did not at all worry about this because I was no longer myself but an instrument of a historical process" (Extracts from the convocation address given by Dr. P.K. Kelkar on 1981 May 17. The institute was registered under Registration of Society Act XXI of 1860 on 2ndNovember, 1959.

Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had realized that to keep pace with the ever changing world of science and technology, it is necessary to collaborate closely with the outside world. The Kanpur Indo-American Programme (1962-1972) at IIT-Kanpur was a stride in this direction. During the period 1962-72, the Institute received technical assistance under KIAP nine leading Institutions of U.S.A. Under the program, faculty members from these Institutions the Institute in the setting up of the academic programs and development of laboratories for instruction as well as research.

Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur is one of the premier institutions established by the Government of India. The aim of the Institute is to provide meaningful education, to conduct original research of the highest standard and to provide leadership in technological innovation for the industrial growth of the country. The Institute began functioning in the borrowed building of Harcourt Butler Technological Institute in 1959 with 100 students and a small faculty. The Institute now has its own sprawling residential campus,about 2255 undergraduate and 1476 postgraduate, 309 faculty and more than 900 supporting staff. The combined record of its past and present faculty and students along with the alumni spread across the world is awe-inspiring. With the path-breaking innovations in both its curriculum and research, the Institute is rapidly gaining a legendary reputation.

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