Prof. (Dr.) Manojranjan Nayak
A passionate teacher, Prof. (Dr.) Manojranjan Nayak is the Founder President of Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan, a Deemed to be University known more by its acronym SOA, which has grown to be the top ranked university in Odisha.
Hailing from a remote village in coastal Odisha, Prof. (Dr.) Nayak did his B. Tech in Electrical Engineering from the Regional Engineering College (presently NIT), Rourkela and M.Tech in Computer Science from IIT, Kharagpur. A brilliant teacher, he joined as a faculty in the College of Engineering and Technology under Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology, Bhubaneswar. But his dream was to set up an institution of excellence to impart quality professional education to students of Odisha.
Prof. (Dr.) Nayak, who did his doctorate from the OUAT, soon quit his job to chase his dream by establishing Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (SOA) in 1995.
The Institute of Technical Education and Research (ITER), reckoned as one among the finest engineering colleges in the east today, was launched by SOA in 1996. It had a modest beginning with only 118 students joining the college in the first year.
Prof. (Dr.) Nayak subsequently set up several other institutions imparting education in management, hospitality and tourism management, nursing, pharmaceutical sciences, dental sciences and medical sciences. It was on July 17, 2007 that the University Grants Commission (UGC) conferred on SOA the status of a Deemed to be University under section 3 of the UGC Act.
Three more institutions imparting education in legal studies, agricultural sciences and veterinary sciences and animal husbandry have come up under SOA since then.
Ranked 15th in the country by NIRF in 2023, the university was re-accredited with A++ by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) in 2022.
SOA set up the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, SOA’s faculty of medical sciences, in 2007 which has come to be reckoned as one of the most sought after hospitals in Odisha. The 2200-bed teaching hospital has been providing superspecialty facilities while extending affordable treatment to its patients. Prof. (Dr.) Nayak was in the forefront in the battle against Covid as SOA joined hands with the Odisha government to set up five stand-alone Covid Hospitals and two Covid Care Centres in the state to treat Covid patients.
Prof. (Dr.) Nayak also runs a media house which publishes The Prameya, the largest circulated vernacular daily in the state, and runs News7, an Odia television news channel.