Regeena J Murli, Director of Jeppiaar Engineering College is famous for her pioneering work in developing technical education. In this very special interview for the 10th anniversary of RITZ, the daughter of the iconic Col. Dr. Jeppiaar, shares what it means to continue her father’s impressive legacy and her plans for the future, in an exclusive chat with Richa Sharma.
It is a pleasant Friday morning and I am passing through the grounds of the Jeppiaar Engineering College, en route to meeting Dr. Regeena J Murli, B.Tech. and M.B.A. Ph. D, Director of Jeppiaar Engineering College. I am impressed by the orderliness and sense of harmony on the campus and I am looking forward to meeting Regeena, who is the daughter of the iconic Col. Dr. Jeppiaar, Chairman, Jeppiaar Engineering College.
Col. Dr. Jeppiaar is a passionate educationalist and a philanthropist and his passions have been inherited by Regeena and her three siblings. He formed the Jeppiaar Educational Trust and established the Jeppiaar College of Engineering under it on 15th August 2001. Since that day, Regeena has been actively associated with every aspect of college management.
Shares Regeena on her interesting journey in the field of technical education, “I started working with my father when I was just 19 or 20 years old. This early initiation helped inculcate a sense of responsibility and discipline. I learnt a lot from observing him. I still go to him with my problems and he is always a source of support.” Even as a child, Regeena was taught to be responsible and independent. She was always encouraged to analyse, think and make her own decisions and this is what she teaches her children too.
Opening up on her personal life, Regeena says, “I strictly don’t work on weekends. They are dedicated to my husband Murli Subramaniam, who is the Director ofJeppiaar Salts and Jeppiaar Builders and my three kids. We love to sings songs together and make time to go shopping as a family. I don’t get too much time to nurture a hobby but when I am free I love to listen to AR Rahman’s songs. My husband loves to listen to Ilayaraja’s songs.”
Her father’s association and close friendship with the late MGR has been a wellchronicled aspect of his life. I am curious to know about her memories of the legendary late leader. Regeena replies with a smile, “We were always very excited to see MGR as kids. He used to pamper us with lots of chocolates. During Republic Day parades, we would sit on his lap and watch the show. He gave us cute pet names. It was always fun to visit his home,” she reminisces of the impressive personality.
Inspiring Family Today, she is a great source of inspiration to her students. But Regeena’s role model is her father from whom she has learnt everything. “The key things I have learnt from my father are punctuality, honesty, thinking big and focussing on the end result. My father always says that thinking small is a crime. He also says that how you start is not important. It is like clay – it is nothing in the beginning. It is how you mould your idea that is important. It’s the same way with our students. It is our duty to mould them into responsible citizens of the nation.” She is also inspired by her mother Remibai Jeppiaar who is a pillar of strength for the entire family. Shares Regeena, “Earlier, my father would travel a lot so my mother would single -handedly manage all of us. She is the one who binds the entire family together. She is a very bold lady and a source of support to all of us.”
The conversation turns towards her professional life. She shares that she is closely involved with the students and the staff and is always looking at innovative ways to enhance the quality of education in the college. Adds Regeena, “We deem the success of our students as our personal success. The parents entrust their children to us, so it is our duty to give them the best opportunities possible. I am happy to share that we have some of the best staff and support facilities on the campus. We are committed to helping our students excel in their respective fields of choice.”
Her vision is to build the Jeppiaar Engineering College into an institution of academic excellence in technical education and management education and to become a world class University. This is why she ensures equal importance to both academic and non-academic activities, along with offering excellent facilities like a well-stacked library, encouragement for sports and participation in physical activities. The college also offers state-ofthe- art laboratories, mess, canteen, bank with ATM facilities, gym and infrastructure for many indoor and outdoor games. No wonder then, that Jeppiaar Engineering College, an ISO 9000:2001 certified Christian minority institution affiliated to Anna University, is sought out by students who want not only excellent technical education but also overall growth and personality development.
Regeena is also committed to philanthropy and the Jeppiaar Sports Academy offers free schooling, sports training and hostel for students from economically lesser privileged backgrounds. She shares, “We try to help as many students as possible. We go to remote areas and pick out the children who need our help the most. We then help them in all ways possible.” They are also associated with a number of NGOs offering support to the needy and disadvantaged sections of society in a number of ways.
Nurturing Minds, Building the Nation
Clearly, her contribution to nation building and cultural development are very important to Regeena and she ensures that students imbibe not only technical education but also the values of life. She says, “We try to inculcate the right values in our students. That is the only way we can build a strong nation.” This is her father’s motto and it is hers too. “My father is deeply concerned about the welfare of each student and so am I.” Not surprisingly, the future looks bright for Jeppiaar Engineering College as they plan to obtain University status in the coming months. “We are also planning to set up a large research and development centre in the college which will be a great value addition for all of us,” ends Regeena, as she gets back to the nitty-gritty of running a mammoth educational institution. A bright future awaits her students and Regeena will not rest till she realises the potential of all her leaders of tomorrow.