Four years after the idea was proposed for Xavier University, the Odisha state assembly recently passed the Xavier University Bill, 2013, thereby paving way for the establishment of the country's first Jesuit university. Father Paul Fernandes, SJ, Director, Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar (XIM-B), shares with Nirmalya Behera, plans for this new university. Excerpts:
Why was the university status important?
How much would you invest in setting up the varsity?
In the past four years since the idea was proposed, the cost has escalated from Rs 33 crore to Rs 40 crore. In the first phase, the cost of developing 200,000 square foot built up area will be around Rs 40 crore. We expect the campus to be ready by this December and operational by July 2014. We are hopeful to move the rural management programme by July next year. We would have more plans for the university's second, third and fourth phase. Where, we would, in each phase, we will add one or two schools of the Xavier University. We would share the details at a later stage.
Where will the university generate funds from for operations and setting up infrastructure?
We have to raise the funds. The vision is clear to establish the university, to make it innovative and of great quality. We need resources and we seek support openly from alumni, friends, donors and anyone whoever wants to support our venture.
Would the university foray into streams other than management?
Yes. We may have science and humanities schools of the university. Looking at the state's needs, we need to strengthen arts, science, cultural and media education. This however, would be at a later stage.
You have reserved about 50% seat for Odisha students. Why?
This is a unique feature. No other private university in the country has such provision. We have done it because of our commitment to the state.