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2,346 degrees awarded during IIT Madras? First-Ever ?Mixed Reality? Convocation

Chennai: For the first time in its history, the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) conducted its Convocation using a ‘Mixed Reality’ mode. The event was held completely online combining the real and virtual world and showcasing how they can interact. A total of 2,346 degrees were awarded during the 57th Convocation held today (25th October 2020).

Prof. David J Gross, Nobel Laureate and Chancellor’s Chair of Theoretical Physics, University of California, graced the occasion as Chief Guest. Dr. Pawan Goenka, Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Madras and Managing Director, Mahindra and Mahindra, presided over the Convocation.

The video of the President’s Medal being awarded in ‘Mixed Reality’ mode can be downloaded from this link – https://fromsmash.com/Presidents-Medal-Winner-Video-IIT-M-Convocation. The entire video of the Convocation can be downloaded from this link – https://fromsmash.com/IIT-Madras-Convocation-2020-Full-Video-25th-Oct-2020

Addressing the graduands from Santa Barbara, U.S., Prof. David J Gross, Nobel Laureate and Chancellor’s Chair of Theoretical Physics, University of California, said, “Many of you are completing your education today and are now wondering what the next few years will bring. One thing I am sure of is that no one can give you any answer. The world is undergoing rapid change and as the event of the last few months show, no one can predict what will happen next week, much less beyond that. The same is true of science and one’s career in science.”

Further, Prof. David J Gross said, “Life is not made up of years but of moments. As we look back on our life, what we remember is a collection of moments. None of us remember our beginning and none of us will remember our end. This moment is both a beginning and an ending for you. For many of you, it is the end of college tuition and the beginning of repayment of student loans. For many of you, it is the end of the process in which you absorbed vast knowledge and the beginning of the process when you begin to apply that knowledge or pass it along to the next generation. For many of you, it is the end of formal education and the beginning of the so-called ‘real life’.”

“For many of you, it is the end of the period in life where you received from your parents and society and the beginning of the period where you give back to the society. And there is much that you can give back, for you are a privileged lot. Privileged to be citizens of a rapidly-growing country with a rich and glorious history that is now moving on to take its rightful place in the world. You are fortunate to be free of disease, hunger and war that plagued much of humanity for most of the times. You are privileged to have attended a great institution of learning and to have acquired much knowledge,” said Prof. David J Gross.

Prof. David Gross was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics along with H. David Politzer and Frank Wilczek for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction. He has been a central figure in particle physics and string theory. His discovery, with his student Frank Wilczek, of asymptotic freedom—the primary feature of non-Abelian gauge theories—led Gross and Wilczek to the formulation of Quantum Chromodynamics, the theory of the strong nuclear force.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Pawan Goenka, Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Madras, remarked, “Class of 2020 – you have a very special distinction. The distinction of graduating from an institute, which has been ranked the #1 Engineering College in India, for five years in a row. Further, IIT Madras also continued to hold on to the No.1 position in the Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements. This is a true reflection of the collective commitment of our faculty, administration, staff and students. On behalf of the Board of Governors, I would like to congratulate everyone at IIT Madras for this accomplishment.”

Dr. Pawan Goenka added, “Taking on ambitious projects – belief in the capabilities of the youth and the power of collaboration is exactly what our country needs today. While COVID-19 is without doubt, the biggest health and economic crisis mankind has faced, I would want to share a slightly different perspective. The pandemic has given us the opportunity to define a new normal for how we work and how we live – and once we are out of the fear of catching the virus, the new normal in fact may be better than what we will be leaving behind. Covid has accelerated the rate of tech adoption across streams of life. Changes which would have taken 5-6 years have happened in just about 3-4 months.”

“And then we have the clarion call by our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to be Atmanirbhar Bharat. ‘Atma Nirbharta’ to me is first to take pride in what we do and what our country does. It is about removing all our business disabilities. It is about being world class in our product and service offerings. It is about innovating, developing technology and creating a pull for our offerings. It is about developing India as a source of distinct value add and globally competitive technology and manufacturing destination. If you recollect the original vision of IITs – it was to advance the bubbling aspirations of post-Independent India, towards a modern India. Today, renew your zeal to work towards this vision. Today is the time to commit yourself to creating an Atma Nirbhar Bharat,” Dr. Pawan Goenka concluded.

Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, awarded degrees to the graduating students virtually. A total of 2,346 degrees were awarded this year. This includes highest number of PhDs awarded in an academic year, 353 (which includes PhDs, Joint Degree Ph.Ds, and Dual Degree Ph.Ds), M.S – 103, M.Tech. – 431, Web-based M.Tech – 14, PGDMRTM – 19, M.Sc – 122, Joint Degree MBA – 3, MBA – 48, EMBA – 37, MA – 33, Dual Degree – 680, B.Tech – 406.

Convocation 2020 also included, for the first time, 59 Inter-disciplinary Dual-Degree students who upgraded from the UG programme to obtain Masters’ degrees in Data Science, Computational Engineering, Robotics, Nanotechnology and Energy Systems, and 51 from industry who have earned their Masters’ degrees through our web-enabled executive programmes in Engineering specialisations and Business Administration.

Presenting a report on the Institute’s performance in the last academic year, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, said, “The pandemic led to a nation-wide lockdown in March 2020 and educational institutions have remain closed since. The classes re-started online within a couple of weeks… Due to the heroic efforts of our faculty and students, we completed classes for the January-May 2000 Semester in time to enable our graduating students to take up their jobs, and our pre-final-year students to take up internships in the summer, many of them in the online mode. Our graduating research scholars and students with projects also wound up their theses from home.”

Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi added, “Our Strategic Plan 2013-2020, whose targets we have met or exceeded in every aspect, has brought us this far. Our plans as an ‘Institute of Eminence’ will propel us further and take us to greater heights in the coming years. On June 30th this year, the country’s first online undergraduate degree in Programming and Data Science at IIT Madras was launched by the Hon’ble Union Minister for Education, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’. This programme will establish a new paradigm through which IITs can contribute to meet the nation’s high Gross Enrolment Ratio target under New Education Policy 2020, by making high-quality education in an emerging field accessible to everyone who is willing and able to meet our exacting standards. We believe this game-changing initiative will set the stage for many similar programmes in disciplines that can be taught online with high quality.”

“The Institute continues to attract substantial funding for its research and consultancy activities from both Ministries of the Government of India and industry. During the past 5 years, the former grew at a CAGR of 17%, while the latter grew at a very healthy 26%. In 2019-20, the Institute received sanction for 294 Ministry-sponsored projects for a total value of Rs. 333.1 crore, and 649 consultancy and industry-sponsored research projects amounting to Rs. 249.3 crore. We filed for 191 patents during the year of which 62 are international filings, and were granted 58,” concluded Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi.