History  
 
 

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 2nd November, 1959.

Soon after the five IITs were set up, 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 from a consortium of nine leading Institutions of U.S.A. Under the program, faculty members from these Institutions assisted 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 students, 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.

IIT-Kanpur is located on the Grand Trunk Road, 15 km west of Kanpur City and measures close to 420 hectares. This land was gifted by the Government of Uttar Pradesh in 1960 and by March 1963 the Institute had moved to its current location. If someone had visited it then, he/she would have seen a standing crop, acacia woods, a long winding line of stately mango trees, flocks of peafowl and a conventional country side scene of India. The residential campus is planned and landscaped with a hope for environmental freedom. Halls of residence, faculty and staff houses and community buildings surround the central academic area to provide flexibility in movement and communication. The person who brought this mammoth transformation was Mr.Achyut Kanvinde, a Delhi-based architect. Since the beginning, the Institute has attracted scholars from across the country. The rich cultural diversity of India is reflected in the campus activities of IIT-K as well.

From its very inception, IIT Kanpur has been striving to develop itself into an institution of excellence in education and research in consonance with the contemporary and future needs of India. In meeting this challenge, the Institute has always been making special efforts to recruit talented faculty on a world-wide basis and to admit brilliant students from all over the country by a careful selection process. Continuous efforts have been made to provide the faculty with well-equipped facilities to enable them to participate in national endeavors in Science and Technology in a major way. In addition to offering formal Undergraduate and Post-graduate Programs, the Institute has been involved in Continuing Education and Research & Development in areas of value to both the Industry and the Government. In a very short span, the Institute has attained recognition as a major centre of learning in Engineering, Science and several Inter-disciplinary Areas. The Institute has been served by illustrious Directors. Not only, has the Institute acted as the breeding ground for ideas and talent, it also has recognised and honoured scholars of distinction.