The times left behind and the ones that followed, in 2021, were a mixed bag of fortunes that went through tremendous fluctuations. The year 2021 began with a sigh of relief after facing an unprecedented crisis in the previous year which had affected and impaired all forms of life and livelihood. But a few months into it, the time that descended was more devastating a wave that engulfed us in a way that we saw Covid-19 very closely. All of us witnessed the loss of some and felt proud of some of those who fought but did not succumb. But amid the darkness, there were glimmers of euphoria and that of the academics. An academic year that ushered in uncertainty and unpredictability and the disease grew more menacing and rolling out of vaccination.

Sparks In the Gloom
Amidst Covid-19, a natural calamity Yass worsened levels of poverty due to lockdown and mental stress, the batch of 2021 have fared all with their perseverance and resilience. KIIT Deemed to be University, which is well known for its student-friendliness, compassion, and humanitarianism, stood by its students like a rock and anchored them to success in such testing times.

Climbing On Rankings
In a very short period, KIIT has been ranked 30th among Indian universities (overall) by the London-based Times Higher Education, Asia University Rankings 2021, and 15th Rank in the General Engineering in the country, retaining its position among top institutions in India.
It is relevant to mention that KIIT was ranked at 251-300 in The World University Rankings- 2021. It is the first Indian University to achieve a “Five Stars Rating” from the prestigious QS Star Ranking System. More significantly, KIIT has acquired an impressive rank in the band 201-300 in the overall impact ranking by THE Impact Rankings for its impact and efforts at sustainable development – Education, Alleviation of Poverty, Accelerating Peace, Gender Equity, and fostering partnerships.

Outreaching Beyond Human
Notably, even during the pandemic, KIIT has been at the forefront of Odisha’s war against the coronavirus. Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), a constituent of KIIT Deemed to be University, set up four ultramodern dedicated Covid hospitals with over 2000 beds with the support of the Govt. of Odisha, located in Bhubaneswar and in three tribal-dominated districts of Odisha.
Distribution of food materials and other essentials to over 3 lakh pandemic-hit people and outstanding outreach to thousands of animals scattered over the city by providing them food during the pandemic were few praiseworthy works to go a long way. Community outreach activities of KIIT & Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) strived to reach the hardest-hit and commonly overlooked people – transgender, sportspersons, physically challenged, sex workers, etc.

Stand-out Positioning
In a stand-out positioning, we are also the only educational institutions in India to provide Rs. 5,00,000/- (Rupees Five lakhs) as a token of assistance to the family of an employee (who has succumbed to Covid-19) to alleviate his/her hardships to a little extent.
Besides, one eligible person from his/her family will be employed suitably in KIIT, KISS, or KIMS depending upon his/her educational qualification. KIIT will provide free education to the eligible children of their families in KIIT. KIIT has a multidimensional reach and impact.

A Look through Window of Erudition
KIIT has immense contribution to Education, Healthcare, Sustainable Development, Literature and Culture, and more specifically Sports. KIIT Deemed to be University is the only varsity in India to have three of its students, (separate events) Ms. Dutee Chand, Mr. Shivpal Singh, and Ms. C A Bhavani Devi represent in the same Olympics – Tokyo Olympics in 100m & 200m sprint, Javelin (Athletics) and Fencing (Sabre) events respectively. KIIT and KISS have produced over 5000 sportspersons playing at different zonal, state, and international levels.

KIIT A Global Village
KIIT Deemed to be University stands out as it is a student and parent-friendly University. A humongous number, 30000 Students from all over India and 65 countries study here and find a home in the University, which is a melting pot of culture.

Record Placements
KIIT is known for its excellent track record of placements since its inception. We have been able to achieve excellent placements for the 2019-20 batch despite the pandemic being at its peak. Keeping up with our past trend, KIIT is on its way to achieving record placement for the 2021 graduating batch due to the dedicated efforts of our training and placement department.
Our students have bagged 2500 single offers, 4000 multiple offers with the highest CTC of 30 Lakhs and an average of 6 lakhs. Even the School of Management has broken its previous records of placement. It wasn’t an easy task to accomplish given the circumstances – trimming company sizes and lay-offs.

Besides Studies
KIIT Deemed to be University is one of India’s best universities for research work. As many as 100 research and consultancy projects are currently on.

Beyond The Normal
KIIT is the only University in India to have 22 Nobel laureates visiting campus and addressing the students. . For the batch graduating in 2021, it has been really disappointing that they could not come to the campus. We have tried to provide the most personal touch through use of technology and augmented reality this Convocation.
The 17th Convocation of KIIT Deemed to be University will be graced by Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn, Noble Prize in Chemistry (1987), France who will deliver the Convocation lecture. Shri Dharmendra Pradhan ji, Hon’ble Minister of Education and Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India will preside as the Chief Guest at the 17th Annual Convocation of KIIT. It is a matter of great pride that Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma) has given her kind consent to receive Honorary Doctorate of Letters (D.Litt. Honoris Causa). Shri Vallabh Bhanshali, Founder of ENAM group, and Desh Apnayen Sahayog Foundation and Founder- Director, FLAME University will also be conferred with Honoris Cause degree.
To the Class of 2021, I completely understand that last thing that you want to hear right now is Stay Home. But still, one can be close to home and near and dear ones, not physically but emotionally. I urge everyone to pursue every ambition and dream and embrace the responsibility to build this community – your priority. I reiterate that remember one thing – you are and will always be kings and queens, like your hostels say, Kings Palace and Queens Castle. Go kiss the world.
The writer is the founder of KIIT and KISS.