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     Kalpana Chawla remembered at PEC

Chandigarh, February 1st 2007, Tribune News Service

It was a day to remember one of the brightest students of Punjab Engineering College, Kalpana Chawla, on the occasion of her fourth death anniversary.

In a touching ceremony, held today in the college auditorium, the students and the faculty members of the college paid homage to the astronaut. The function was attended by Dr K.K. Garg, Dean, students welfare, Dr V.S Malhotra, former head, Department of Aeronautical Engineering, and the students of the college. On the occasion, a short documentary film depicting the highlights of her life was shown to the audience.

Recollecting the days when Kalpana was his student, Dr Malhotra, remembered her as an extremely talented and a committed student. “In fact after she joined NASA, we were in touch through e-mails. A native of Karnal, Haryana, Kalpana Chawla did her engineering from PEC during 1978 to 1982 in the aeronautical engineering discipline and later went on to become the first Indian lady astronaut in NASA until the ill-fated Columbia space shuttle explosion took her life along with six other American astronauts in 2003.

Remembering her on this day, her close friends Prof Rabinder Kaur and Prof Sovina Sood were reminiscent of her tomboyish looks and all those luncheon meetings on the college campus and outside during their days as students. Recalling her noble gesture even at that age, Rabinder explained that how she would pay the college dues of one of her batch mates without ever letting her know.

The college already has a hostel and a library dedicated to Kalpana Chawla. The library has around 300 books read by the astronaut during her lifetime, right from Ayn Rand to Munshi Premchand. Keeping in mind her concern for ‘mother nature’ and to commemorate the completion of 25 years of her batch, the college proposes to put up 50 nests on the trees on the college campus on February 25.


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