Homecoming 2020: First Annual Alumni Meet

Punjab Engineering College (Deemed to be University), Chandigarh proudly hosted its first annual Alumni Meet ‘Homecoming 2020’ with much grandeur and vibrance. 15th February 2020 finally commenced after weeks of hard-work and the day dawned with over hundreds of alumni of various batches starting from 1943, all meeting each other from various spheres of the globe, coming together with the same enthusiasm they shared during their college days. The batches of 1960,1970,1985,1995 and 2005 were felicitated on the occasion of completing their Diamond, Golden, Coral, Silver and Crystal Jubilees respectively. The college ground was lit up with lights and décor as it welcomed back its students from the past years. This day will be marked in history as a remarkable day not just for the alumni but everyone present there, including the faculty and the currently enrolled students.  There was an abundance of smiles, laughter, nostalgic stories and memories being spread around in the air. Homecoming 2020 offers the road down memory lane and a path to creating new ones. 

As every auspicious ceremony should begin, this event began with the lighting of the lamp. Following this, Dean Alumni, Corporate and International Relations, Dr. Divya Bansal in her address informed how within five weeks the event was pulled off and total registrations with families had exceeded 1000. She also shed some light on how the engagement with the alumni had tremendously improved in the last three months with all possible communication media used to reach the alumni world over including Facebook, linked in, emails, phones calls, WhatsApp. As a result alumni from all over the world including Malaysia, Australia, US, Nepal, Canada, London attended the event. The Director of the institute, Dr. Dheeraj Sanghi, who had joined the college last year and has made immense improvements within the span of a year, also addressed the crowd. PEC celebrated and cherished 4 of its distinguished alumni by presenting them with an award. Amongst them were Mr.Sandeep Bakhshi (Director and CEO of ICICI Bank for the past 32 years, who has handled various assignments across the group in ICICI Limited, ICICI Lombard General Insurance, ICICI Bank and ICICI Prudential Life Insurance and graduated PEC in 1982) whose presence we missed, Mr. Sanjeev Aggarwal (Founder and CEO of Daksh, rated as the World's Best Managed BPO Company (Black Book of Outsourcing) and was ranked as the #1 employer in Indian BPO market by IDC. He was chosen "Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year" in 2002), Mr. Sanjay Bhatia (Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust. Before that he was working as Vice Chairman and Managing Director of City & Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd (CIDCO). He graduated PEC in 1982), Mr. Yogesh Lohiya (He is a 1973 graduate in Production Engineering. He was Chairman cum Managing Director of General Insurance Corporation (GIC) of India from 2007 to 2011. He was also MD and CEO of Iffco Tokio General Insurance Ltd from 2013 to 2017).  

To make the ceremony more personal, representatives from each Jubilee were called upon stage to share their views about the college, their batch mates and any advice they had to offer to the younglings present in the venue. 

Punjab Engineering College welcomed with open arms, Bikram Singh Garewal, the college’s oldest alum. Having graduated in 1943, this imminent personality is a mighty 97-year-old humble man who achieved great feats in life. He served as the Chief Engineer of Patiala from 1971 till his retirement in 1981. Originating from Lahore, he was more than happy to celebrate his birthday today amongst his juniors of various generations in the college where he studied as a young lad. 

Following a quick but delicious entrée of dishes, the alumni members along with their families were invited to participate in fun activities which included kite flying, musical chair, tug of war, football and various other leisure activities. With the air filled with music and food in the corner, people were excited to come forward to dance and enjoy the moment. Photographs were taken as the proud winners of the games stood to collect their prizes. 

Nukkad Nattak was performed by the students of Dramatics Club outside the auditorium soon after the fun activities. The hungry crowd soon left for a hearty lunch in the football ground. As the sun beat down on PEC on this mildly cold February day, there were only stories to pass around and nostalgic memories lingering in the atmosphere. When asked around to various alumni members of ranging years, there were many special stories and interesting facts being told around. From having just 3 branches (mechanical, civil and electrical), the college has indeed come a long way by now accommodating 8 branches. They were all pleased to see the new changes being brought about in the college whilst keeping the old infrastructure intact. 

By late noon, the alumni members were shown around the college for their respective branch tour. Just as the new students being enrolled into the college are taken around the various departments, the alumni were too, but this time, each place held a special memory for them. There was also a panel discussion being held in the senate hall regarding a very important topic-How the alumni of Punjab engineering College could strengthen their network. Shortly after, to conclude this wonderful day, a gala dinner was hosted at the football ground. With a brief and touching vote of thanks, the night led to a fest of songs and bhangra performances by the students. Not only this, but the college's talented alumni also took to the stage to enthral us with their talents. To name a few, Mr. Tejinder Singh Bedi, a 1973 Electrical Engineering graduate, a very illustrious singer, known for singing with the great Jagjit Singh entertained the whole crowd with his performance. He has a musical group of his own called the Bedi’s Musical Group, the latest event they presented was a tribute to Late Jagjit Singh on 7th February 2020. Along with this, Mr. MK Nanda, a 1969 graduate proved that age is anything but a number by showcasing his bhangra skills. 

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