Published: 05th July 2020
Nehru, Star Wars and social distancing: What went down at IIIT-Bengaluru's first e-convocation
The graduates included seven PhD degrees, 13 Master of Science by Research degrees, 159 MTech degrees, 11 MSc degrees, 63 dual degrees, and 29 students with sponsored MTech degrees
The International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-B), Bangalore came together to celebrate the graduating class of 2020 through an e-convocation. This was the institute’s 20th Convocation so there was no way that they were going to let this year go by without a celebration, even if it was just through their monitors.
This year 282 students graduated from the institute. The Chief Guest for the event, Prof Jitendra Malik, the Arthur J Chick Professor of EECS, University of California at Berkeley spoke on the history of computer science in post Independent India and the decision of the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru to invest in science and technology despite the country abysmal figures with regard to education and quality of life. He said the decision to set up IITs in the early 1950’s ensured a bright future for science and technology in India, “My education in India really prepared me for my time at Stanford, as it did several others who went on to do great things academically and even set up great businesses.”
However, Malik pointed out that we were still significantly behind when it comes to research and in Asia too, we were falling behind China. “But I believe that we will soon fare better,” he added. The Professor also shared some advice that he says are his principles as well, “Be a lifelong learner. Information is so readily available, always devote some time to learning. Secondly, don’t just aim for excellence for yourself but also for those around you, always appreciate intelligence when you see and pay credit to those who are working hard. Also it is important to overcome prejudices, whether it be based on religion or caste - encourage excellence in all people and not just those that you are familiar with or share cultures with,” he told the young graduates. His last tip to the students was to always have confidence in themselves.
The Guest of Honour, N Krishnakumar, Founder and Former Chairman, Mindtree and Managing Partner, Mela Ventures, cited some interesting examples of the triumph of human spirit over adversity. He said, “As you graduate from this institute, you must have big audacious goals. You may not have the ability to know how you will reach there, but those big audacious goals are important to keep you focused and persevering even when you face many bottlenecks and emerge successful. The solid grounding you have received in IIIT-B will help you manage the complexities of the new world much better”.
The Chairman of the IIIT-B Governing Body and one of the founders of Infosys, Kris Gopalakrishnan involved a Charles Darwin quote in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, “He said it was not the most intellectual or the strongest person who would would survive this, but it would be the person who would best be able to adapt to the new future. Strive to create a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable India. Success doesn’t mean titles, salary, the number of people working under you or if you’re working abroad. The definition of success is how successful the people around you are. Even if you’ve changed one person’s life, that is success,” he explained. He also urged the graduates to maintain a life long relationship with their alma mater and drop in now and then to meet teachers, conduct seminars and mentor students. He ended with the popular Star Wars line - May the force be with you!
The Institute awarded degrees to 282 graduating students - seven PhD degrees, 13 Master of Science by Research degrees, 159 MTech degrees, 11 MSc degrees, 63 dual degrees, and 29 students with sponsored MTech degrees, on the special occasion. Exceptional students in academics and extra-curricular activities were also awarded medals and recognitions. Some of the awardees include - K Vinay Chandrasekhar, an Integrated MTech student graduating this year, has won three awards - The Student of the Year, Institute Gold Medal and Sitaram Jindal Gold Medal. Other students with noteworthy accomplishments are Oindrila Matilal, who won the Best Paper Award at the European Conference, Rajavelsamy, who was elected as Vice Chairman of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the highest standards body in the world of LTE and 5G and Pragyan Mohapatra, who received the Intel India Research Fellowship for 2019.