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IIT Madras conducts first Mixed Reality convocation

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras conducted its convocation using Mixed Reality, considering the safety of students, faculty and staff amid the COVID-19 situation.

Digital avatars of graduates received degrees from Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT Madras, on a virtual stage at the 57th convocation ceremony on October 25.

A total of 2,346 degrees were awarded this year. This includes the highest number of PhDs in an academic year, 353 (PhDs, Joint Degree PhDs, and Dual Degree PhDs), MS 103, MTech 431, Web-based MTech 14, PGDMRTM 19, MSc 122, Joint Degree MBA 3, MBA 48, EMBA 37, MA 33, Dual Degree 680, BTech 406.

Prof. David J Gross, Nobel Laureate and Chancellor’s Chair of Theoretical Physics, University of California, was present on the occasion as the chief guest. Dr. Pawan Goenka, Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Madras, and Managing Director, Mahindra and Mahindra, presided over the virtual ceremony.

The 2020 convocation of IIT Madras included 59 inter-disciplinary dual-degree students who upgraded from the UG programme to obtain master’s degrees in data science, computational engineering, robotics, nanotechnology and energy systems. Fifty-one professionals earned their master’s degrees through the institute’s web-enabled executive courses in engineering specialisations and business administration.

While addressing the students from Santa Barbara, US, Prof. Gross 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 events 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.”

“For many of you, it is the end of the period in life where you receive from your parents and society and the beginning of the period where you give back to 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 most of the time. You are privileged to have attended a great institution of learning and to have acquired much knowledge,” Prof. Gross said.

Director Ramamurthi spoke about the country’s first online undergraduate degree in programming and data science launched by IIT Madras this year. “This programme will establish a new paradigm through which IITs can contribute to meet the nation’s high Gross Enrolment Ratio target under NEP 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,” he said.