Seventy two BS MS students and 33 PhD students walked away with their degrees on the fifth convocation of IISER Pune held on May 28, 2016.
The ceremony began with the academic procession led by the Registrar Col Raja Sekhar taking their spots on the podium and the Chairperson of the Board of Governors, Dr. Venkataramanan, declaring the convocation open.
Distribution of BS MS degrees was by Chairperson of the Senate and Director IISER Pune Prof. K.N. Ganesh, with Dean of Graduate Studies Prof. G. Ambika as the Presenter. Of the 72 BS MS students who graduated this year, 17 received their degree with Distinction (with CGPA >9). PhD degrees were presented by former Dean of Doctoral Studies Dr. V.G. Anand and handed over to the graduates by Prof. K.N. Ganesh. The award of degrees was formally complete after the Chairperson of BoG signed the Register of graduating students.
This year’s Institute Gold Medal presented to top master’s level students for academic excellence was bagged by Santpur Sai Neha who secured a CGPA of 9.8 and is now headed to begin her PhD programme in Physics at the University of California Berkeley, USA. The Medal was presented to Sai Neha by Chief Guest of the occasion, Dr. Selvin Christopher (Director General, DRDO and Secretary, Department of Defence R&D).
Prof. Ganesh addressed the audience consisting of parents of the graduating students, distinguished invitees and IISER Pune students and staff and presented them with the Institute report that described IISER Pune’s most recent achievements and activities. He pointed out that in a short span of 10 years IISER Pune, that began in 2006 with 44 students and 5 faculty, has reached several important milestones. He emphasised that celebration of ten years of the institute is also an occasion to remind oneself of the expectations of various stakeholders and prepare for the challenges ahead.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Venkataramanan said that the kind of passion and connection that one has with an organization when associated with its early, growing years is unique. The advantage of being a part of building together something bigger also comes with a responsibility, he said, of building the brand of the institute. He introduced the Chief Guest in the context of the challenge of bringing science from the laboratory to applications in everyday life and said that DRDO has been able to motivate many individuals to realize national measures. Dr. Venkataramanan also wished students that a love for achievements would guide their careers.
In his convocation address Dr. Selvin Christopher spoke about DRDO’s role in the country’s defence capabilities and the organization’s journey towards self reliance. He spoke of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) headed by late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Gas Turbine Engines, Unmanned Air Vehicles, Air Defence Radars, and Airborne Surveillance Systems. He described some of the technical challenges that the researchers at DRDO face and spoke about the role of inputs from the academic community in addressing these issues through simulations and other experiments. He invited budding researchers to contribute to defence research and in strengthening the security of the nation.
The ceremony concluded with Director Prof. Ganesh presenting Exhortation to graduating students. Before closing the convocation, Dr. Venkataramanan commended the editors of the annual students’ magazine Kalpa, which documented the early years of the institute through the words of people who were associated with the institute from the very beginning. He said that great institutions are built by the passion of the founders and by the people who stay. He advised students to build on their communication skills and indicated that this can directly contribute to their research success.
With these energizing comments, the convocation ceremony was complete and the graduated students headed to record this momentous occasion through a group photograph as their elated parents and friends watched on.