|Motto||"Seek The Highest Truth"|
|Chancellor||S C Jamir|
|Vice-Chancellor||Prasant Kumar Sahoo|
|Location||Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, India
Utkal University, Bhubaneswar is the oldest university in Odisha and the 17th oldest university in India. It is a teaching-cum-affiliating university that has produced some of the best brains in Odisha. There are at 26 post-graduate departments at the university campus for studies and research in disciplines of Science, Humanities, Business Administration, Social Science, Law and Commerce. There are nearly 3,000 students in the post-grad departments at Vani Vihar. This is the largest affiliating university in the country with 267 affiliated general colleges, 15 law colleges, six medical and pharmacy colleges.
After the separation of Odisha from Bihar and the creation of the new province of Odisha in April 1936, there was a strong desire among the leaders of the province for the establishment of a separate university in Odisha. Until 1936 all the colleges were under the jurisdiction of either Patna University or Andhra University. Subsequently the government of Odisha, with Shri Biswanath Das as the premier, appointed a committee on 2 March 1938 with Pandit Nilakantha Das as its chairman to examine the possibility of establishing a separate university in Odisha. During the premiership of Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati, who played a pioneering role in the establishment of the university, the recommendation of this committee was made available. Pandit Godavarish Mishra, the then minister of education in the government of Odisha introduced the Utkal University Bill which was passed by the Odisha Legislative Assembly on 30 June 1943. On receiving the Governor's assent subsequently on 2 August 1943, the Utkal University Act 1943 came into force, clearing the way for the foundation of the university on 27 November 1943.
In 1966 that Act was repealed and a new Utkal University Act came into effect from 1 January 1967. Initially Utkal University was operating from the Ravenshaw College, before it came to its own campus at Bhubaneswar, called Vani Vihar. Ravenshaw College remained affiliated to Patna University even after the separation of Odisha from Bihar in 1936; the affiliation was finally transferred to the newly created Utkal University in 1943. In fact, it was Ravenshaw College that gave birth to the new university, nursed and sustained it. It operated from Ravenshaw College's present Zoology Department building premises. The University has many departments from Anthropology to Zoology, for post-graduate teaching.
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The campus is at the heart of Bhubaneswar city and right on NH-5. It is nearly 5 km from both the main railway station at Master Canteen and bus stand at Baramunda. All the postgraduate departments and the Law College are inside the campus.
The foundation stone of the present campus was laid by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India on 1 January 1958, and the campus was inaugurated by Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the second President of India on 2 January 1963.
Evolution of the post graduate departments
The initial "Utkal University Act - 1943" did not specify clearly the territorial jurisdiction of the University. However its jurisdiction was extended to include the princely states in Odisha by an agreement between the rulers of these princely states and the Government of Odisha. According to the agreement adequate representation of the princely states in the administrative and academic bodies of the university (15 members in the Senate, one member each in the syndicate and the Academic Council) was granted. The Utkal University Act 1943 was accordingly amended in 1947 defining the territorial jurisdiction of the University which was subsequently extended further to the whole State of Odisha in 1950.
Prana Krushna Parija, principal of Ravenshaw College, Cuttack was the first vice-chancellor of the university. V. V. John, the assistant professor of English in Ravenshaw College was the first registrar. The university, to start with, functioned mainly as an affiliating body. In 1949, it took over the management of the undergraduate Department of Law from Ravenshaw College, Cuttack and established its first constituent college now known as Madhusudan Law College, Cuttack.
In 1956, the second phase of its expansion began with the opening of the post-graduate Department of Geology in Ravenshaw College Campus and the University College of Engineering, Burla, Sambalpur. A research Department of Rural Economics and Sociology was started the same year with a generous grant from the Ford Foundation. In 1957, two new post graduate departments in Philosophy and Sanskrit were established on the premises of the Burdwan House at Cuttack. That year the university office was shifted to the Circuit House at Cuttack. The University in the initial phases provided new facilities for post-graduate studies only in those subjects which did not exist in Ravenshaw College at that time.
In 1958, the post-grad departments of Psychology, Statistics, Political Science and Anthropology were established. While the first three departments were housed on the premises of Ravenshaw College, the Department of Anthropology was accommodated in a rented house at Bhubaneswar. The University took over the Post-graduate Department of History from Ravenshaw College in 1959. Post-Graduate studies in Zoology and Commerce were introduced in 1960 and 1962 respectively. The Research Department of Rural Economics and Sociology was established in 1956 and started Post-Graduate courses in Applied Economics in 1963. It was subsequently renamed as the Department of Analytical and Applied Economics. Around that time, a movement for the creation of regional universities started in different parts of Odisha. Accordingly, the Government of Odisha appointed the State University Committee in 1962 with Dr. P Parija, the then Vice-Chancellor of Utkal University as the Chairman.
On the recommendation of the Committee, two more universities were created; one at Sambalpur and the other at Berhampur. The Utkal University Act - 1943 was, in consequence, suitably amended to meet the new situation. The two new Universities at Sambalpur and Berhampur came into existence with effect from 1 January 1967; the date from which the new Utkal University Act came into force. The jurisdiction of Utkal University, which earlier covered the whole State of Odisha, was redefined in the new legislation. After the establishment of the two new Universities, the management of the Evening Colleges at Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur and Berhampur were taken over by the State Government. The Engineering College at Burla was handed over to Sambalpur University. Utkal University, in its new campus at Vani Vihar, opened few other Post-Graduate Departments such as Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Oriya and English during the years 1966-69. The Department of Sociology and Labour Welfare was started in 1970, which in 1974 was split into the Department of Sociology and the Department of Labour Welfare (now renamed as the Department of Personnel Management and Industrial Relations). The Department of Geography was opened in 1970. The Post-Graduate Department of Law (L.L.M.) was started in 1973.
The Department of Geology, which was accommodated earlier in Ravenshaw College was shifted to Vani Vihar in 1977. Then the Department of Library and Information Science and that of and Political Science Departments respectively, besides the 27 regular Post Graduate Programmes, along with Business Administration were opened in 1981 and in 1984. A Computer Centre was established initially with different departments of the University. IBM- 1130 computers were donated by the University Grants Commission in the year 1970 which has subsequently been placed by the WIPRO LANDMARK system at a cost of Rs.16 lakh provided later by the UGC. The Computer Centre, while facilitating research work undertaken by various departments of the University earlier offered a Post-Graduate Diploma Course (DCA) on Computer Application from 1980 to 1997. In 1990 the University opened the Department of Computer Science and Applications.
In 1999, the University came up with Integrated MCA course, which is a 5yr post-graduation course after 12th. This course went to become a huge hit after the students got placed in all the multi-nationals.
In 2001, the M.Sc. Computer Science course started up which was based on entrance selection based and enroll student must having prior computer bachelor degree such as B.Sc. Computer Science. This course become hugely successful with good student back ground, contemporary course structure and excellent placement record.
The Post Graduate Department of Biotechnology was started in 2002, and offers M.Sc. in Biotechnology which is sponsored by The Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, New Delhi. The Department was established by the valuable efforts of Prof. G.B. N. Chainy, the former Head of Dept. of Zoology and Biotechnology, Utkal University. Besides the contribution of the teachers from the other Departments of Utkal and other reputed Universities and Institutes of Odisha state, the guests faculties, the Department is able to run. The unconditional efforts of Prof. Chainy, the founder of the Department and Prof. S.P. Adhikary who is now acting as The Head, Department of Biotechnology, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, Kolkata are gratefully acknowledged. Dr J. Dandapat is now heading the Department. This Department has a very productive laboratory with noticeable publication out puts every year in different applied and basic areas of Biological Sciences. Most of the Modern Biochemical and Molecular instrumentation facilities are available here to support the research works. This Department offers Ph.D. and M.Sc. courses in different subject areas of Biotechnology.
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It has the largest space of universities in Bhubaneswar and is the most centrally located. It has one of the highest number of educational departments in India and is the state largest in this respect. The Integrated MCA, MBA, Law, Pharma and MFC departments are particularly of very high repute. The university has jurisdiction over nine districts in Odisha: Angul, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Khurda, Nayagarh and Puri, catering to the needs of higher education of a population of over 11 million people. It churns out some of the best minds in eastern India and a lot of people from this place play vital role in the state and national development in the later stages of their lives.
Residential student halls
The university has separate residential accommodation for men and women students. The men's hostels include Gopabandhu Chatrabas, Madhusudan Chhatrabas and Fakir Mohan Chhatrabas.
Academic and co-curricular facilities
The central library of the university is named "Parija Library" after the eminent botanical scientist Prana Krushna Parija. The Vani Vihar branch of State Bank of India is situated inside the campus. The Distance Education Centre is also inside the campus.
- Achyuta Samanta, renowned social entrepreneur and founder of KIIT Group of Institutions
- Gopal Ballav Pattanaik, ex Chief Justice of India
- Hara Prasad Mishra, eminent bio-chemist based in USA
- Janaki Ballabh Patnaik, Former Chief Minister of Odisha & the current Governor of Assam
- Jayanti Patnaik, Member of Parliament, author and editor
- Sahadeva Sahoo, eminent administrator, Chief Secretary Odisha Governemnet 1999 and Vice Chancellor, OUAT
- Kumkum Mohanty, renowned Odishi dancer and winner of Padmashree and Sangeet Natak Akademi award
- Madhu Sudan Kanungo, eminent scientist in gerontology and neuro-science and winner of Padmashree award
- Mihir Sen, first Asian to swim the English Channel in 1958, and the first swimmer ever to have crossed the Palk Straits in 1966
- Sarojini Sahoo, leading feminist writer, Sahitya Akademi award winner and editor of India AGE
- Subrata K. Mitra, eminent political scientist and editor of Heidelberg papers of South Asia
- H R Khan, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India
- Subroto Bagchi, Indian entrepreneur and a Business leader, Co-founder of Mindtree
- Tapan Kumar Pradhan, activist, writer and winner of Sahitya Akademi Golden Jubilee prize for Kalahandi
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