SCE is very proud of alum Rajiv Chilakalapudi (Master of Science in Computer Science 1997), our 2013 SCE Alumni Achievement Award Recipient. Traveling all the way from India, Rajiv spent several days this April at UMKC and SCE reconnecting with the faculty that inspired him, sharing with SCE students and faculty how he started his company and lessons learned from his experiences, meeting with school friends and participating in events in honor of the Class of 2013 Alumni Award recipients.
Inspired by America’s Walt Disney, Rajiv Chilakalapudi (Chilaka) has redefined India’s animation industry by pairing state-of-the-art animation technology with marketing and creative, original story lines and characters. With the technical knowledge he gained at UMKC and a strong desire to emulate the success of Walt Disney, Rajiv Chilakalapudi founded Green Gold Animation in 2001. As its managing director he is the creator, director and producer of many of India’s top children’s shows and movies including the widely popular Chhota Bheem series which currently has a viewership of more than 34 million children. Green Gold Animation also has retail stores featuring products based on Green Gold’s animated characters.
“I believe that the most important part of my job is to make the kids smile and dream,” said Chilakalapudi. “All the great achievers in the world are dreamers. If we inspire kids to dream they will automatically become achievers.”
Rajiv Chilakalapudi supports programs to expose young people to his craft, having enrolled 30 underprivileged teenagers in a training program, free of charge, and eventually hiring 20 of them. He also established 10 animation scholarships for economically challenged students in India and he has provided support for SCE’s Balaji Krithikaivasan Memorial Travel Grant. Rajiv understands well how experiences shape destiny.
“UMKC played a very, very important role in my life . . . I learned to see things from different perspectives. In addition to technical skills, I learned the importance of networking and also developed my leadership skills to a great extent,” said Chilakalapudi.
During his two talks at SCE, he encouraged students to become technologically sophisticated and then work at what they find fascinating. Both are fundamental to being a successful entrepreneur.
SCE students, faculty and staff all hope to see Rajiv again here at UMKC. We await news of the next adventures of Chhota Bheem and the Green Gold Animation team that Rajiv leads. Safe journeys to all!