Michigan State University to honor India’s milkman

Father of India’s White Revolution late Dr Verghese Kurien will be honored by his alma mater – the US-based Michigan State University, which will unveil his bust at its campus.

Kurien’s bust will be unveiled at the International Center Lobby on Thursday morning. “It is always an honour when your alma mater recognizes you,” Dr Kurien’s Chennai-based daughter Nirmala  told TOI. “In his entire lifetime, my father had received 15 honorary doctorates from across the world but he had got his first honorary doctorate from Michigan State University – East Lansing in presence of his own teacher professor Farrell in 1965. The university has always recognized his contributions,” said Nirmala.

The invitation for Thursday’s programme feature 2016 Google India doodle on the legendary doyen of co-operatives. “A graduate of MSU’s College of Engineering (MS Mech Eng’ 48) and the recipient of an honorary doctorate from MSU in 1965, the late Dr Verghese Kurien was architect of India’s “white revolution” which transformed the nation from a milk-deficient country to the world’s biggest milk producer,” read the invite.

Praising his alma mater, Kurien had once said that Michigan State University had gave him “the best education money could buy.”

Born in Kozhikode, Kurien had graduated in science from Loyola College in Chennai and obtained his degree in engineering from the Guindy College after which he completed his masters’ degree in mechanical engineering with dairy engineering as a minor subject from the US-based varsity in 1948.

Upon his return to India, he was assigned to a Government Creamery located at Anand to serve his bond period. But at the end of 1949, when he got release orders from his job from the Government Creamery and he was all set and eager to pack off to Mumbai, the then chairman of Amul Dairy Tribhuvandas Patel had requested him to stay in Anand and help him put his co-operative society’s dairy equipment together.

The dairy was formed at the initiative of India’s Iron Man – Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel.

Kurien stayed at Anand forever. And this changed the destiny of India’s dairy industry.

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