35th CONVOCATION OF SRI SATHYA SAI INSTITUTE OF HIGHER LEARNING
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Deemed to be University) held its 35th Annual Convocation at Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam in the Divine Presence at 10:30 a.m. As the university turns thirty-five, the event is a testimony of how the education model, based on values-based education at the university level has stood the test of time and continues to thrive.
The chief guest of the 35th Annual Convocation was Dr. R Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Govt. of India and Homi Bhabha Professor - Department of Atomic Energy. Dr. Chidambaram is a highly decorated Physicist who has served in the best interests of the country for several decades. He is best known for playing an integral role in India's nuclear weapons program. He coordinated the test preparation for the Pokhran-I (1975) and Pokhran-II (1998).
The format, planning and execution of the SSSIHL convocation ceremony is second to none. The ceremonial procession was led by the university brass band, two students carrying the University Standards on either side of the Registrar (who carried the Ceremonial Mace). Other members of the procession included the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Deans and the Heads of Departments along with the Chief Guest, members of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and the Board of Management.
Following the invocatory veda chanting, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. K B R Varma prayed to the Revered Founder Chancellor to declare the convocation open. The Convocation was then declared open in the Divine voice of Bhagawan Baba.
In his speech to the students, the Vice-Chancellor highlighted that the Sri Sathya Sai model of education is of great importance in a fast-moving world that is driven by materialistic concerns. He recalled the milestones that the university has made in the past thirty-five years. This included the growth of the university campuses (now totalling four), the pursuit of academic excellence and the focus on need-based research. He highlighted key research achievements across various disciplines in the past academic year such as low-cost multi-modal microscope, and Microbial fuel cells for waste water treatment.
Following this, 498 candidates for the various programmes of study were admitted to their various degrees (undergraduate, postgraduate and professional programmes as well as 28 Gold Medallists, and ten Ph.D. awardees) by the Honourable Chancellor, Justice M N Venkatachaliah, former Chief Justice of India.
The convocation oath was then administered by the Vice-Chancellor, after which the Gold Medallists of the university were honoured. These fine women and men students excelled in the Faculties of Sciences, Management & Commerce and Economics & Humanities during the academic year 2015/16.
Dr. R Chidambaram then delivered his chief guest’s address. He said that for any profound work to be achieved, an ecosystem is critically important. He then narrated the ongoing progress of the government to equip India with an ecosystem that will enable it to become a developed nation in time to come, especially in the areas of higher education, scientific research and technological development.
He remarked that great scientific progress must not come at the cost of the loss of character. Character, he said, means integrity; it means the pursuit of excellence within an individual’s limitations, the commitment of national and social causes and also a commitment to justice and social equity.
India is now well on its way to become a ‘developed country’ he said. However, we must strive to make it a knowledge-driven economy. If, at the same time, we retain our spiritual and cultural heritage, then India will become a ‘great country’ in the fullest sense of the term, or more correctly, restore to itself the greatness that was its in the past. What better place than this Institute for learning the spiritual and cultural heritage of India, as you gain the knowledge in your own areas of specialization, he concluded.
Finally, the graduands were blessed with the divine convocation benediction by the Revered Founder Chancellor, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Bhagawan stressed on the pitiful situation of modern students, who are bereft of direction in a society starved of goodness. He said the proper study of mankind is man. He encouraged students to imbibe Indian culture and become good citizens and live a life that is acceptable to all.
He concluded by telling His students to not only be good, but encourage others to tread the sacred path.
The event came to a close at 12:45 p.m. following the national anthem and Managala Aarti.