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The First Princi.pal is a story waiting to be told. P S Mani Sundaram, the founder-principal of the Regional Engineering College, Trichy (now National Institute of Technology) is the chief protagonist of this inspiring tale. 'Princi' as Professor Mani Sundaram was affectionately called by generations of students emerges through the narrative as an unsung genius and one of independent India's foremost institution builders. Princi gave REC Trichy the distinction of consistently featuring among the top 10 Engineering colleges of India for 50 consecutive years. A maverick entrepreneur-educationist who had to beat the odds of functioning under India's political and bureaucratic regimes of the 1960s and 70s in order to accomplish this enviable feat, Princi is also remembered as a charismatic leader who upped the ante of India's higher education. Besides driving the astounding success of REC, he laid a solid foundation for Bharathidasan University in Tamil Nadu as its first Vice-Chancellor. His foresight and vision helped it grow from strength to strength in the three decades of its existence. Today the Bharathidasan Institute of Management stands tall as one of India's premier Business Schools, rubbing shoulders with the IIMs.
2014 marks the Golden Jubilee of REC Trichy's founding. It is also a fitting occasion for a tribute to the great man. This book is that tribute.