“The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house, says the Lord Almighty. And in this place I will grant peace, declares the Lord Almighty” (Haggai 2:9).
Warm greetings to you in the most loving and matchless name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! When we pursue higher education with passion and hard work, it could be the most enriching and rewarding experience of our lives. It becomes more meaningful when we pursue it from a historic institution that is committed to excellence in all spheres. The 107-year-old heritage institution that new students enter this year has crossed another milestone. We are humbled that God Almighty has blessed us with the status of a state university (UP State Act No. 35, 2016), passed by the State Legislature. It is an evidence of our commitment to excellence and service in the field of agriculture, science and technology, to the state of UP and to the nation at large.
The journey to the present status is worth recalling. In the year 2010, the former Allahabad Agricultural Institute (DU) completed 100 glorious years of its existence. The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt of India, agreed to rechristen AAI-DU as Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences (SHIATS), to pay a tribute to the founder of AAI, Dr Sam Higginbottom. In that same year the dream to take this deemed university to another level had already been born in my heart.
A proposal was submitted to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (vide Letter No. SHIATS-Society/Act 2010/C-631) on 26 July 2010 with the request that Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences (Deemed University) be upgraded and reconstituted as Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences (SHUATS).
This vision received a whole-hearted support of Hon'ble Chancellor Dr J. A. Oliver, the Chairman of the Society, and the Members of the Managing Committee of the Society. The office of the Vice-chancellor, the staff of the university and the Yeshu Darbar Prayer Team lend all possible support and worked tirelessly to bring this vision to reality.
This vision could not have been realized without the patient hearing given to us by the Department of Agriculture, Education and Research, Govt of UP. The agriculture minister and all the higher government officials of the concerned departments were very supportive, providing necessary guidance and advices at various procedural stages.
We must not fail to mention the graciousness of the Hon'ble Chief Minister, who very kindly extended his support to this noble cause of upgrading a heritage institute to a higher level, so that it may serve the farmer, the rural society and the youth of the state and the nation in a more comprehensive manner. We must also acknowledge the moral and prayer support of the church leaders that we received. With the help and support of the various cabinet ministers, officials in the state secretariat, we were able to pursue this vision for six years. The last six months of this journey were very crucial. Most of these days, for the last six months, we did not have proper lunch at the secretariat. We survived on tea and biscuits!
On 22 December 2016, by 4.00 p.m., the bill was passed by both the houses of the legislature and the parchment was received by the Vidhai Department around 7.30 p.m. on the same day. On 23 December 2016, file was prepared for sending to the Hon'ble Governor for his assent. His Excellency, Shri Ram Naik Ji, the Hon'ble Governor assented the Bill at 02.30 p.m. on 27 December 2016, and within a couple of hours the Vidhai Department issued the Notification for Gazette Publication and Department of Agriculture Education and Research received the Notification along with the copy of the Act from Vidhai that they might also issue a letter of authorization with the approval of the Agriculture Minister. We thank God and give Glory to the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for all the work done on December 28, 2016 in order to issue the Notification on 29 December 2016 much before the Notification of the expected Assembly Election.
We received the letter of authorization and notification at 07.30 pm on December 29, 2016, and we came back by 11.00 pm. Thus, the “Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences” came into being from 29th December 2016. All glory and honour we give to our Lord Jesus Christ. I was received by my wife Mrs. Sudha Lal, son Jonathan, daughter-in-law Abhilasha and grandchildren: Joycee, Joel and Aaron at 11.00 pm at the Bunglow No. 4 where we presently live. Together we all thanked God and my granddaughter said to me “Dada, now you don't have to go to Lucknow and you will stay with us.” Prof. Ranjan John's and my weekly visits to Lucknow were now over. But we are on our course for a long journey of academic excellence and higher goals for our staff and students.
We welcome you to be part of this glorious journey!
I am confident that as you go to obtain professional and technical education here at SHUATS, you will not only gain sufficient technical skills and professional competence but also experience the love of God and discern His will through the spiritual atmosphere released by the loving Father on this campus.
With love and blessings,
In service of Lord Jesus Christ,
Most Rev. (Prof.) Rajendra B Lal
Vice Chancellor, SHUATS, Allahabad