Cambridge University names building after Cipla chief Yusuf Hamied, first Indian to get the honour
In a bid to honour Indian pharmaceutical major Cipla’s chairman Yusuf Hamied, an entire building in Cambridge University has been named after the scientist. Ever since Cambridge University was instituted more than 800 years ago, this is the first time a building has been named after an Indian. Sharing the heartwarming news, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted, “A heartwarming story about a great Indian now immortalised in @Cambridge_Uni.”
Eastern Eye report said “grand opening of Yusuf Hamied Court” at Christ’s was presided over by Lord Simon McDonald, the Master of the College, and about 25 leading scientists, mainly chemistry professors, were present during the occasion.
Hamied, who spoke about his family’s links to the university during the occasion, said, “In 1953, we met Prof Alexander Todd, he was professor of chemistry at that time. This meeting (in Bombay, now Mumbai) changed the course of my life and destiny.”
“When my father asked Prof Todd as to what were the minimum requirements for admission to Cambridge, he replied that ‘if we find the candidate suitable, we take him’. So my father said, ‘I’d like my son to study at Cambridge.’ Todd turned around to me and asked, ‘How old are you?’ I said, ’17, sir.’ ‘When will you be 18?’ ‘In July 1954.’ ‘Right, you’re in Christ’s College from October ’54.’
“Little did I imagine at that time that 69 years later, I would be standing here in my beloved college in front of this august audience at the inauguration of the Yusuf Hamied Court, connected to the Todd building, where the spirit of education and benevolence are linked together for eternity.”
Netizens were overjoyed with the naming of the Cambridge building. A user commented, “This is indeed fantastic. A richly deserved recognition but hat’s off to Cambridge University for going ahead and making it a reality.” Another user wrote, “Well Deserved!” A third user commented, “‘His family founded the Aligarh Muslim University in India, which was based on the same lines as Oxford and Cambridge. In subsequent years, another uncle and cousin also studied in Cambridge.’”
It should also be noted that Cipla’s cheap antiretroviral drugs had saved the lives of millions of AIDS sufferers in Africa. The pharmaceutical company also played a major role during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hamied did his PhD in Chemistry between 1954 and 1960 at Cambridge University. The alumnus’ Hamied Scholars Programme had provided funds to support and attract early-career researchers in the field of synthetic organic chemistry and doctoral students from the UK and different parts of the world.