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India’s first Jesuit university opens

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July 15, 2014

EDUCATION - The Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, inaugurated the first Jesuit Xavier University (XU) in India, in the state capital, Bhubaneswar.

In his address, Patnaik said that the new university aims to be a center of both academic excellence and sound ethical values. He then thanked the Odisha Jesuit Society, known for imparting quality education in the country and the world, for taking establishing the university.

The Xavier University in Odisha bill was approved by the State Legislative Assembly on April 5, 2013 and received the Governor's approval on May 9, 2013. The law provides for the establishment and construction of a private university.

The new university is the first "digital" university in the country, the first Catholic university in the state and the fourth in India.  It will be a center of innovative research and integral formation as XU cares about the whole person. The University encourages students to strive for excellence and become the unique people they are called to be, (including "contemplatives in action" and "finding God in all things") at the service of others and the Kingdom of love , peace and truth, to build a community of responsible citizens.

Taking its inspiration from Saint Francis Xavier, a scholar and a Jesuit, whose name this University is privileged to take as its own, the Xavier University strives to become a globally recognized center of learning and of service to the people of Odisha, of India, and even, of the whole world, by its commitment to excellence in all sphere of human life as lived out in individuals and in institutions. It aims to become the leader as a research oriented university that generates knowledge and diffuses it for the benefit of all. It will be a leader as a visionary university by equipping every student with the necessary competence to create a just society in which he or she can lead a meaningful life. It will endeavor to become a global leader in higher education by its vision that seeks to innovatively transform the world into a just humane society.

In his welcome speech, Fr. Paul Fernandes SJ, Vice Chancellor, said, "XU is God's Gift to us. We receive it with gratitude in our hearts. We commit ourselves to its establishment and growth. We bless it today."

"We hope - he added - that this University will continue to be inspired by the Jesuit ideals, namely to be visionary, innovative, research-driven and open to all (global). We hope this university will make contribution not only to management but to all fields of human endeavor striving to contribute to the building up of a new society by transforming the face of the earth. As we come together in this 21st century University, we create a history that, we hope, will be fulfilled in our times. It is a matter of joy for all of us that we are the first ones, the first fruits of the University. May God bless this university and continue to bless its growth and guard and protect, and provide for all its need in the days to come," said Fr Fernandes.

The idea of creating the university - which is spread over 35 acres, Kurki, 12 km from Bhubaneswar - was born four years ago and has cost an investment of 40 crore Indian (almost 5 million Euro).

The Odisha government has given permission to start various courses of the Master in Business Administration (MBA), rural management, human resources management; also doctoral programs of five years on the integrated market, which began in June of this year. In the coming years, XU should offer courses in science, humanities, arts, sciences, education, culture and communication. It can currently accommodate 500 students and 400 faculty members.

The unique feature of XU is that about 50 percent of places is reserved for Odisha students. No other private university in the country has such a provision. "We have done it because of our commitment to the state," said the Vice Chancellor.

The mission of XU is to imitate Christ as the model of wisdom for youth in the service of justice, peace, truth, and building a civilization of love. Its avowed task is to develop scholars, committed to their own life-long and global development, and nurtured in their lives by the spirit of their alma mater to be unique persons and responsible citizen. It believes that serious and sustained dialogue among people of different faith, cultures, and beliefs carried on in her domain and extended to all forms of public life, can promote intellectual, ethical, and spiritual understanding of all God's people, through its various schools. It will use higher education as a means to proclaim the ideals and values of a culture of peace and search for truth. It will guide and motivate its students to go beyond knowledge and become practioners of the truth that underlies all knowledge and wisdom, the Truth that is the ultimate goal of all learning.

In his address Archbishop John Barwa SVD of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, said, "this university will be a loving mother to give birth to future philosophers, great scientists, to eminent thinkers and outstanding statesmen for our country and the world."

"I wish and pray to God Almighty and in his name I bless that this infant institution to be a world class university to be a great source of wisdom, I bless the teachers, who are the 'driver' of the engine, which known as Xavier University, and I bless the students, who are the pistons of this Engine-and all of them to be the role models of our country and the world in the field of human development and social upliftment with a focus on the precious values of ethics and empathy, intelligence and inclusion as well as harmony and humility."

Others who spoke on the occasion include Rajive Kaul, chairman, Board of Governors, Pradeep Maharathy, Odisha Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Resources, Dr. Pradeep Panigrahy, Odisha Higher Education Minister and Fr. George Fernandese SJ, Provincial of Jameshedpur Jesuit Province and President of Odisha Jesuit Society.


Source: asianews.it, July 08, 2014
 

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