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History The University of Roorkee traces its origin to the Roorkee College founded in 1847. The College was renamed the Thomason College of Civil Engineering in 1854. The college was granted the status of University by the Act IX of 1948. Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru presented the Charter in November 1949 elevating the college to the first engineering university of independent India.

1847 Lt. R. Maclagan appointed principal of the proposed college (October 19)
Notification establishing Roorkee college issued (November 25)
1854 Roorkee College named after Thomason
1863 Publication of professional papers on Indian Engineering started
1870 Annual publication of College Calendar started
1873 Practice of holding Annual Athletic Meet started
1893 Course in Telegraph Engineering started
1897 Engineer class course raised from two to three years with two branches, Civil and Electrical
1899 Department of Applied Science organized
1939 Jwala Prasad Committee report on reorganization of the College
1946 Electrical and Mechanical Engineering classes started
1949 The College celebrates its centenary and the University is inaugurated (November 25)
1953 Postgraduate courses introduced
1955 Refresher courses and WRDTC inaugurated
1957 B.E. (Telecommunications) and B.Arch. courses institituted
1960 B.E. courses raised from three to four years; Four science departments constituted; SRTEE started
1963 B.E. in Chemical engineering and Metallurgical Engineering started
1971 B.E. in Industrial Engineering instituted
1972 Interdisciplinary course in Hydrology started
1973 Humanities Section given the status of a department
1978 University takes over the Institute of Paper Technology
1979 Regional Computer Center established
1980 International course on Water Use Management started at WRDTC
1983 B.E. in Computer Science & Technology started
1986 Department of Biotechnology started
1996 Information Superhighway Center started
1998 Department of Management Studies started

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Excerpts from "A Tribute to Roorkee Luminaries" by C.P. Gupta

Sir James Thomason who initiated ,vigorously pursued and brought to fruition the idea of establishing the college was one of the most outstanding among the noble Englishmen who came to India. An administrator with great vision, liberal outlook and charitable disposition, having genuine concern for the welfare of India, he left an imprint of his extraordinary talents on almost all departments of Government.

Sir Proby Cautley, another moving spirit behind the establishment of Roorkee College, was a great civil engineer of his times and is known as the founder of the Ganga Canal. The construction of the canal between Hardwar and Roorkee overcoming colossal obstacles was a marvelous feat of engineering skill and perseverance. He also rendered memorable service to geological and palaeontological sciences by his explorations of rocks and fossils in the Sivalik ranges for which he was honored by a fellowship of the Royal Society.

H.B. Medlicott, F.R.S who was Professor of Geology and Experimental Science (1854-62) was an outstanding geologist who did pioneering work on the geology of India. Allan Cunningham Asst. Principal (1864-65, 1870-80) authored the highly regarded Volume III of the Roorkee Treatise on Civil Engineering (Applied Mechanics) and his research on `Flow in Open Channels', with extensive and painstaking experiments in the Ganga Canal, earned recognition in Europe. Sir John Eliot, F.R.S., Professor of Mathematics (1869-72) was a distinguished mathematician and a pioneer in meteorology. Author of many research papers including `Climatological Atlas of India' and `Handbook of Cyclonic Storms', he became Head of the Indian Meteorological Department (1889-1903). Gerald Lacey thrice Professor of Civil Engineering (1915-17, 1928-32, 1945) and the last British Principal (1945-46) earned worldwide recognition for his `regime theory' and made rich contributions to the field of Stable Channel Flow. He was awarded the famous Kennedy gold medal in 1930 and the Telford gold medal in 1958.

Rai Bahadur Kanhaiya Lal (1852) joined Punjab P.W.D. and subsequently became Executive Engineer, Lahore. He has the distinction of being the biggest single donor to the college having donated Rs 1000 in 1870, Rs 1500 in 1877 and Rs 1000 in 1887 for one gold medal and two silver medals. Raja Deen Dayal who passed Lower Subordinate Examination in 1866 achieved unrivalled reputation as a brilliant photographer and was honored by the title of Raja by the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1885. Pioneer of Photography in India he is regarded as one of the greatest camera artists of the 19th century.

Sir William Willcocks (1872) one of the most distinguished products of the College, planned and built the Aswan dam on the Nile (Egypt) and the Hindia dam on Euphrates (Iraq).

Sir Ganga Ram (1873) after a brief Service in Punjab P.W.D devoted himself to practical farming. He obtained on lease from Government 50,000 acres of barren, unirrigated land in Montgomery district, and within three years converted that vast desert into smiling fields, irrigated by water lifted by a hydroelectric plant and running through a thousand miles of irrigation channels, all constructed at his own cost. This was the biggest private enterprise of the kind, unknown and unthought of in the country before. Sir Ganga Ram earned millions most of which he gave to charity.

Raja Jwala Prasad (1900) another highly illustrious alumnus became Chief Engineer, UP Irrigation Department in 1929 and was honored by the title of Raja by the Government. He prepared the Ganga Canal Grid Scheme in 1924. After retirement in 1932 he established a sugar mill and an agricultural firm in Bijnor, U.P. He was the Chairman of the Thomason College Reorganization Committee (1938-39).

Sir Lakshmi Pati Misra (1911) possessed many virtues apart from sound engineering skills. A keen sportsman and a brilliant conversationalist he served the Indian Railways with great distinction for 34 years and rose to the highest rank of Chief Commissioner.

Dr. A.N. Khosla (1916) was a dynamic visionary and engineer of towering stature. He developed the Khosla Disc for precision leveling across rivers and wide valleys and authored the famous Treatise on `Design of Weirs on Permeable Foundations'. Father of the Bhakra Nangal Project and the driving force behind several other river valley projects in the country, he served as Chairman, Central Waterways, Irrigation and Navigation Commission, and later as Vice Chancellor of the University from 1954 to 1959. Dr. Khosla changed the look of the University and gave it a reputation to live up to and a role to play in resurgent India. He was the first engineer to hold the exalted office of Governor of Orissa (1962-68). He donated most of his consultancy income to institute the Khosla Research Awards.

During the so-called prestigious decade of 1920's, the Institution produced many eminent engineers which included Kunwar Sain (1922), who contributed to the planning of projects concerning Rajasthan Canal and Mekong Valley Development in Thailand; A.C. Mitra (1923), who contributed to the development of irrigation and power systems of Yamuna and Ganga; P.L. Verma (1924), who planned and constructed Chandigarh; L.P. Bhargava (1925), who designed and erected improved gates for weirs; Karnail Singh (1927), who constructed the Assam Rail Link in 1947, built Chittranjan locomotive works and became Chairman, Railway Board; Yadav Mohan (1928), who was responsible for the planning and design of Rihand dam and for the construction of the most difficult part of the Rajasthan Canal; H.P. Sinha (1928), who prepared the project for the Trans-Asian Highway from Bangkok to Istanbul; and D.C. Baijal (1929), who rose to be Chairman, Railway Board and Chairman Bharat Heavy Electricals. This decade also provided two future Vice-Chancellors of the University - G. Pande (1925) and M.R. Chopra (1929).

Dr. G. Pande lent lustre to three high offices he held in succession - Chairman, Railway Board; Chairman, Hindustan Steel; and Vice-Chancellor, University of Roorkee (1961-66). During his regime the prestige of Indian Railways reached its peak; it was also during his tenure that the three public sector steel plants at Bhilal, Rourkela and Durgapur were set up and commissioned. Dr. M.R. Chopra, after successfully completing the gigantic Bhakra Dam Project as its General Manager, became Chairman, Central Water and Power Commission, and later Vice-Chancellor of the University (1966-71). Dr.G.Pande and Dr. M.R.Chopra, with their administrative acumen, made the University one of the foremost centers of engineering education - healthy within and reputed outside.

Dr. Jai Krishna (1935) joined the teaching staff of the college in 1939 and was Vice-Chancellor of the University from 1971 to 1977. He earned worldwide recognition as an eminent engineer-scientist, as Founder and Director of the School of Research and Training in Earthquake Engineering and as recipient of several prestigious awards and honors.

Prominent among those who graduated in 1940's include Dr. OPT. Jain (1944), a structural design engineer par excellence who, after a long and distinguished service at the University, served as Director,I.I.T., Delhi (1978-83); Dr. Dinesh Mohan (1943) Who became Director, C.B.R.I Roorkee, at a relatively young age and rendered highly meritorious service to the lnstitute; Dr. Bharat Singh (1945), a renowned expert on irrigation and Dams who was Vice-Chancellor of the University (1982-86); and Dr. Jagdish Narain (1948), a distinguished soil scientist who was Vice-Chancellor of the University from 1977 to 1982.

No narration relating to this University can be complete without mentioning the name of Lt. General Sir Harold Williams who was associated with it for over 50 years. Professor of Civil Engineering (1936-38) and member of senate (1949-55) He took deep interest in the progress of the Institution. Gen. Williams was Engineer-in-Chief, Indian Army (1948-55) and Director, C.B.R.I., Roorkee (1955-62). He adopted India as his home and loved Roorkee in particular. "Roorkee was his Shantiniketan, his Sevagram and finally his Samadhi.

National Honor

Many Vice-Chancellors of the University have been recipients of the Padma awards. Dr. A.N. Khosla and Dr. Ghananand Pande were honored with Padma Vibhushan; Dr. Jai Krishna and Dr. M.R. Chopra with Padam Bhushan; and Dr H.C. Visvesvaraya with Padam Shri. Dr. S.K. Joshi, former Professor at the University was also honored with Padma Shri.

Top Level Appointments

Dr. A.N. Khosla as Governor of Orissa; Dr S.K. Joshi, as Director General, C.S.I.R.; Dr. S.K. Khanna, as Vice-Chairman, U.G.C. and Chairman, A.I.C.T.E., Dr. V.K. Gaur, as Secretary, Department of Oceanography, Dr. N.C. Mathur, as Vice-Chairman, U.G.C.; Dr. D.V. Singh, Vice-Chairman, A.I.C.T.E., Prof S.C. Katoch as Chairman, H.P.S.E.B.; Dr. K.C. Thomas, as Chairman, H.P.S.E.B. are some of the many who occupied exalted position after serving the University.

Vice Chancellors

Dr. W.U. Malik a former Professor of this University was appointed Vice-Chancellor of University of Kashmir, Bundelkhand University and Allahabad University. Prof Rajendra Prakash an alumnus and former Professor was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna University, Srinagar (Garhwal) apart from Dr. A.N. Khosla, Dr. Ghananand Pande, Dr M.R. Chopra, Dr. Jai Krishna, Dr. Jagdish Narain, Dr. Bharat Singh and Dr. N.C. Mathur alumni or former faculty members in this University who were appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Roorkee itself. Present Vice-Chancellor Prof N.C. Nigam is alumni of this University.

Directors - Indian Institutes of Technology

A number of Professors who have been on the faculty of this University or alumni have been appointed Directors of IITs. These include Prof. Shankar Lal, Prof O.P. Jain, Prof P.V. Indiresan, Prof. C.S. Jha and Prof. N.C. Nigam.

Directors of R&D Institutes

Former Professors of the University have been appointed Directors of R&D Institutes of national importance, namely Dr. Shamsher Prakash of Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee, Dr. V.K. Gaur of National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad, Dr. P. Khanna of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur, Dr. S.K.Joshi of National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi, Dr. Satish Chandra of National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee, Dr. D.V. Singh of Central Road Research Institute, New Delhi, and Dr. D.N. Trikha of Structural Engineering Research Centre, Ghaziabad.

Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Awardees

The research work of the faculty has been widely recognized. Seven faculty members have been so far honored with the coveted Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award: Dr. Jai Krishna, Dr. S.K. Joshi, Dr. V.K. Gaur, Dr. D.V. Singh, Dr. P.S. Moharir Dr. Aloke Gupte and Dr. Sri Niwas.

President of National Academies and Professional Institutions

Many faculty members have been elected as Fellows of Indian National Science Academy and Indian National Academy of Engineering. Dr. A.N. Khosla was the first engineer to become the President of the Indian National Science Academy and Dr. S.K. Joshi has been the President of the Academy in the recent past. While Dr. Jai Krishna is the founder President of the Indian National Academy of Engineering, Dr. Shanker Lal, Dr. Satish Chandra and Dr. H.C. Visvesvaraya have been the President of the Institution of Engineers (India).

Historical Documents Letters of Mr. James Johnston, the printer of Thomason College 1861-75.
Notebook of John Litchfield, studentat Thomason College 1867-1880.