Education targets the human being as a whole and aims with varying degrees of success or failure to seek the enlargement of its unity and prevention of its fragmentation, said Prof. Mrinal Miri while addressing the XVI Convocation of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) on Wednesday, 1 October 2014 at the Brahma Kumaris Shanti Sarovar. Prof. Miri who is the Chairman, Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR) further stated that Universities are paradigmatic examples of institutions which aim at, promote and are necessarily involved in engagement of the kind that constitutes what is called the core value of the practice of education. The essential life-line of a university is such engagement. He further opined that pursuit of excellence in educational practices requires the exercise of virtues such as honesty, courage, justice, an open-eyed respect for the other, whether the other is fellow practitioner or an idea or a community of ideas.
Concluding his address Prof. Miri told the graduating students that this is a time certainly to celebrate, but also to pause, look back and reflect on their time spent at the University and realize the difference it has made to them as a person.
Six eminent personalities were conferred with the Honorary Doctorate at the Convocation. Professor Palle Rama Rao, Padma Vibhushan awardee, well-known scientist in the area of Physical and Mechanical Metallurgy and the former Vice-Chancellor of UoH; Dr. M S Valiathan, Padma Vibhushan awardee and a renowned cardio-thorasic surgeon; Professor M S Raghunathan, Padma Bhushan awardee and a renowned Mathematician were present at the Convocation to receive the honorary doctorate. Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, Padma Vibhushan awardee and a leading scholar of Classical Indian dance; Shri Gulzar, Padma Bhushan awardee and a renowned poet, lyricist and film director were also conferred with Honaris Causa at the Convocation in absentia.
The late Smt. Zohra Sehgal, Padma Vibhushan awardee and a well-known actress and choreographer was also conferred with Honoris Causa posthumously, and the award was received by her daughter Padma Shri Kiran Sehgal.
Hon’ble Shri E S L Narasimhan, Chief Rector of UoH and Governor of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh was the Guest of Honour and gave away the medals to the meritorious students. At this Convocation 1452 students were conferred the degrees, out of which 206 are from Integrated PG courses, 723 from PG courses, 176 from M.Phil, 164 from M.Tech and 183 from PhD. 104 medals were also awarded to the meritorious students.
Ms. Pavithra Molugu, a visually challenged student from MA-History won two medals namely Andhra Bank Medal and AP History Congress Medal for Women Topper. Her achievement was applauded by the packed audience while she received the medals from the Hon’ble Governor.
At the convocation five faculty members of the University were presented the Chancellor’s Awards in recognition of their overall contribution to the University in various spheres that include research, teaching and mentoring of students. This is the second time in a row that the Chancellor’s Awards are being presented at the Convocation. The award consisting of a certificate and Rs:1:00 lakh was presented by the Chancellor of UoH, Prof. C H Hanumantha Rao to Dr. R Mrinal Kanti Bhattacharyya (Biochemistry) for research in Cellular and Molecular Biochemistry; Dr. S Rajagopal (Plant Sciences) for research in Structural Biology and Proteomics; Dr. G Vaitheeswaran (ACRHEM) for research in Material Science and High Pressure Studies; Dr. Suvashisa Rana (Health Psychology) for research in Developmental and Educational Psychology, Social Psychology and Peace, Positive Psychology, Psychometrics and Prof. D B Ramachary (Chemistry) for research in Organic Chemistry.
In his report Prof. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, Vice-Chancellor, UoH said that as an institution of higher education and learning, the model that we would like to see our University evolve is to have strong democratic principles to stand as fortification, as a bulwark against the forces that constantly erode our functioning, and to have sound scholarship that will provide our nation a good foundation for development. He further stated that our commitment to the goal of fashioning a unique and excellent research University is as strong as ever and although the turbulent economic and political climate makes this a very challenging goal, we are convinced more than ever that a University such as ours is very necessary. The UoH fraternity has an important role to play in the process of educating and enabling our citizens. The sense of liberation that comes when our students are truly educated and enabled is something that many have discovered, sometimes only in retrospect. Nevertheless it is true that the UoH provides the opportunity for all of us- students as well as staff- to soar as high as we want. But more than that, having an environment like this, the opportunities here make it necessary to keep a sense of responsibility in mind, he added.
Finally, Prof. Ramaswamy said that the well being of society is paramount, and it needs us to both put aside the individual in preference to society, and to also see that it is our responsibility to do so. He shared that he had touched upon the idea of a measurable index through which we can see how we serve society, by having a University Social Responsibility similar to the Corporate Social Responsibility. I believe that it is necessary for the University to also have well-defined social goals that can only be reached by the collective work of a body such as ours, where research, teaching and scholarship are valued, nurtured and encouraged. I believe that this is a fundamental way in which a university can contribute to the overall good of the society in which we are embedded, the society out of which we grew, and the society we were destined to serve, said Prof. Ramaswamy while concluding his report.
The convocation proceedings was webcast live for the second successive year. It was a joyous occasion for many graduates who were seen celebrating their success with their family and friends. And for the University it was a day of fulfillment to witness so many of its students embarking on a new voyage in their lives where they will be claimants of rights and at the same obligated to discharge duties in a meaningful way in the society.