Students, Alumni and Graduates
- Before 1964, less than 200 students were admitted to the engineering classes every year.
- In November 1964, three batches were admitted to RIT. (a) 400+ students were admitted to the first ever 1st BE. Most of them graduated in 1970. (b) 300+ students were admitted to the first ever 2nd BE. Most of them graduated in 1969. (c)
- About 200 students were admitted to the first ever 3rd BE (formerly known as the First Year Engineering). Most of them graduated in 1968.
- In the subsequent years, 500 or more students were admitted to 1st BE (in the six-year program) or to 3rd BE (after attending the two-year Regional Colleges).
- There are tens of thousands of students who have attended the Engineering classes and are “Alumni”.
- A sizable number of the Alumni are also “Graduates”.
- Some alumni moved overseas to work or to pursue further studies. Some moved back to Myanmar after retirement.
- The majority of the Alumni are in Myanmar.
Degrees and Convocation
- The Faculty of Engineering, University of Rangoon conferred B.Sc. (Engg) degree. U Ba Hli was the first Native Dean. He was succeeded by four interim Deans : Dr. Htin Aung, Dr. Tha Hla, U Po Tha and Dr. Maung Maung Kha.
- Burma Institute of Technology (BIT) based in the Gyogone Campus was still technically the Faculty of Engineering. U Yone Moe was the Dean. U Sein Hla (MIT alumni) served as Registrar of BIT. BIT conferred B.Sc. (Engg). My brother received it in 1963 along with Dr. Tin Hlaing.
- Rangoon Institute of Technology (RIT) was not merely a name change from BIT. It became an autonomous Institute with U Yone Moe as Rector. He was succeeded by Dr. Aung Gyi. U Soe Thein (Ba Ka Tha) served as Registrar of RIT. He was succeeded by U Hla. RIT conferred B.E. and B. Arch degrees. I received my B.E. in 1969 along with several (U Nyi Hla Nge (C), Dr, Htin Aung (C), Dr. Khin Maung Win (C), U Khin Maung Tint (C), U Hla Myint (C), U Hla Myint Thein (C), Dr. Taing Oke (ChE), U Than Lwin (EC), U Aung Myint (M), U Khin Maung Tin (M), U Ohn Maung (Mehm Aye Chan, M), U Aung Myint (Pet), Naw Mu Mu Aye (T), U Hla Shwe (T), …) who joined the Faculty.
- There were no Convocations for 1988, 1989 and 1990. Consequently, the Class of 87 and the Class of 91 hold joint gatherings and Acariya Pu Zaw Pwes.
- On March 2, 2019, the 50th Convocation was held at Awbar Lann in the Gyogone Campus. It was a revival of the tradition that started five decades ago.
Unions, Societies, Clubs and Associations
- The Rangoon University Student Union nurtured the freedom fighters for Burma’s Independence and the leaders for the Union of Burma. On July 8, 1962 the Student Union Building was demolished.
- The engineering students formed RUESU (Rangoon University Engineering Students Union). It produced six (or so) Annual Magazines. U Aw Taik Moh (C54) was a Magazine Committee member of an early issue. Saya U Moe Aung (Tekkatho Moe War, EE63) was Editor of a later issue.
- Burma Research Society published journals and also organized conferences. Dr. U Win (Geography) was the last speaker at the Research Congress held at Rangoon University. Higher authorities moved in to announce the banning of the Burma Research Society.
- During the Military and semi-military regimes, almost all professional societies were banned.
- Until a few years ago, there was no formal Alumni Association.
- We now have RITAA which is trying to help our beloved alma mater get back on track to its former glory.
- Many sayas and alums served as President and Executive Committee members in Myanmar Engineering Society (MES). MES is not an Alumni Association. MES is not an NGO. MES is an NPO.
Garawa and SPZP
- In April 1999, I started “RIT Alumni International Newsletter”. U Khin Maung Zaw (KMZ, EC76) designed and implemented the first RIT web site http://www.ex-rit.org. I served as Editor and Content Provider for the web site. My e-mail updates were also posted on the web site.
- Saya Allen Htay (C58, GBNF) and selected alumni from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond decided to support our activities. Saya Allen served as the President of RIT Alumni International.
- At a meeting held at Benny Tan (M70)’s house, Saya U Aung Khin gave the go-ahead for the First RIT Grand Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe in San Francisco, California, USA.
- SPZP-2000 was held in October 2000. Saya U Ba Toke (from Myanmar) and Saya H Num Kok (from Portland, Oregon, USA), who are sayas of our sayas (including Dr. Aung Gyi, U Min Wun and U Khin Aung Kyi) were among those who participated in the Garawa ceremony. A two-set DVD for SPZP-2000 is available.
- The alumni of most universities have their reunion as part of the “Home Coming”. In my poem “SAYA PUZAW PWE” we longed for our alma mater “in a land far away”. In context, RIT was considered a Dying Breed.
- SPZP-2000 was an important step to get the sayas and alumni get connected electronically and physically and to revive the noble tradition of Saya Pu Zaw Pwe (to pay back the metta and cetana of our mentors).
- The Second RIT Grand Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe (SPZP-2002) was held in Singapore in December 2002. Saya U Moe Aung (co-chair) published the Commemorative Issue of Swel Daw Yeik Sar Saung for SPZP-2002. Saya printed my “SAYA PUZAW PWE” poem on the Back Cover.
- The Third RIT Grand Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe (SPZP-2004) was held in December, 2004 in Yangon about the same time as the ASEAN Engineering Conference. The mild earth quake did not deter the attendees of the then largest SPZP.
- Due to the changes in Political Climate, the SPZP scheduled for December 2016 could not be organized. The alumni in Singapore hosted the Fourth RIT Grand Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe (SPZP-2007) in April 2007. It was the only SPZP held around Thingyan (Myanmar New Year). Saya U Moe Aung published my poem “SWE DAW YEIK” in the Commemorative Issue of Swel Daw Yeik Sar Saung for SPZP-2007.
- In my later posts, I use “Swel Daw Yeik” instead of “Swe Daw Yeik”.
- The alumni in Singapore also hosted the Fifth RIT Grand Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe (SPZP-2010) in December 2010. Saya U Moe Aung gave a better name for my article and published “EE Sayas : A Sad and Short Clip” in the Commemorative Issue of Swel Daw Yeik Sar Saung for SPZP-2010.
- Thanks in part to H.E. U Aye Myint (EP72), a true Home Coming was hosted at the Sixth RIT Grand Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe (SPZP-2012). The Garawa ceremony was held in the Gyogone Campus. The Reunion Dinner was held in MICT Park.
- Around SPZP-2012, Sayagyi U Aung Khin and Sayagyi U Ba Than served as Patrons of the newly formed Mechanical Engineers Association. It has hosted All-Mechanical Gatherings in December every year.
- The concept of forming Swel Daw Yeik Foundation was discussed before, during and after SPZP-2012. SDYF was established in 2013. SDYF has provided assistance to eligible sayas and sayamas undergoing hospitalization. On a case-by-case basis, assistance is also provided to eligible sayas and sayamas needing frequent visits to the clinics and support personnel.
- Shwe YaDu celebrations were held in 2014. Fifty Swel Daw Bins were planted.
- RITAA hosted the all-day event (Garawa and Entertainment) at the Seventh RIT Grand Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe (SPZP-2016). Thanks to donors, there was free food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There were two stages for entertainment.
- RITAA initiated the fund raising for YTU Library Modernization project. The “Roll of Honour of Donors” include individuals and groups from all over the world.
- On March 2, 2019, the 50th Convocation took place at Awbar Lann in the Gyogone Campus. The graduates include the first batch from COE (Center of Excellence). We are glad to know that several top graduates have received job offers.