Gandhinagar: In its true spirit to celebrate the hard work of the graduating students, the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) hosted its 9th Convocation today through a unique virtual ceremony. Even in online mode, the Institute made sure to retain the feeling of the graduation ceremony for its students, right from the academic procession by the faculty members to invocation, Convocation addresses by the Director and the Chief Guest, award of degrees and medals to their digital self, and Convocation pledge followed by individual congratulatory messages from the IITGN faculty and staff in various Indian languages. The entire event was streamed online on IITGN’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.
A total of 455 students, including 173 BTech students, 1 BTech-MTech Dual Degree student, 1 BTech-MSc Dual Degree student, 115 MTech students, 84 MSc students, 19 MA students, 55 PhD students, and 7 PGDIIT students were conferred their symbolic degrees in digital mode. In addition, 56 medals and awards were given (25 gold medals, 15 silver medals, and 16 medallions) for excellence in various categories such as academics, outstanding research, innovation, leadership, social service, sports, arts & culture, and so on.
Shri Nandan Nilekani, Chairman and Co-Founder, Infosys Limited, was the Chief Guest on the occasion. He was the Founding Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in the rank of a Cabinet Minister from 2009-2014. Most recently, he has co-founded and is the Chairman of EkStep, a not-for-profit effort to create a learner-centric, technology-based platform to improve basic literacy and numeracy for millions of children.
In his Convocation address, Shri Nandan Nilekani congratulated IITGN for achieving many laurels in the short span of 12 years. Addressing the students remotely, Shri Nilekani said, “It is a difficult time for all of you to graduate during this global crisis. But it’s really your attitude and your sense of optimism about the future which will give you the confidence to continue and do what you have to do. And surely we will emerge from this crisis. ”
He underlined the emergence of technology as the most important tool to survive in this crisis and said, “Technology is now becoming central to our world. Thanks to digital technologies such as smartphones, video conferencing, e-commerce, big cloud operations and other online tools, we are able to continue many of the things and work from home. Another very important technology which is now becoming apparent for the world is the technology of medicine. Whether it is developing better tests for quicker results or the drugs to treat the affected people or creating the vaccines to get us out of this situation permanently, technology is at the heart of it. And in some sense, therefore, this crisis has led to the revival of technology and the revival of expertise.”
He advised students to treat this degree just as a milestone in a journey of life-long learning and said, “Just because you have got a degree from an IIT, do not conclude that your learning journey is over. Today is a world of continuous life-long learning. Knowledge across the world in every field is accumulating at a dramatic pace, and therefore you must prepare and commit through your entire professional career to be curious, and learn new things, knowledge, recognise new patterns, and extract from it. That is what will keep you relevant and useful to society.”
Concluding his Convocation address, Shri Nilekani expressed the belief that the future is bright and said, “I do believe that notwithstanding all the challenges that we face today, there will be many opportunities in the future. If you are able to leverage your excellent quality education from IIT Gandhinagar and combine that with a positive attitude and commit to life-long learning, I can assure you that you will always have something meaningful and transformation that you can contribute to.”
Earlier to Chief Guest’s address, Prof Sudhir K Jain, Director, IITGN, addressed the students and invitees of the online ceremony. Cheering the degree recipients and medal winners in his opening remarks, Prof Sudhir Jain said, “I know that you are missing the delight and grandeur of our usual, in-person Convocation. But let this be a special moment where, though physically apart, we will be together in spirit, thanks to the technology that is available to us today.” He congratulated all the graduating students and medal winners.
Further Professor Jain highlighted some of the remarkable programmes, initiatives, and achievements of IITGN during the academic year 2019-20 such as Early Admit MSc program, launch of Project Issac during the nationwide lockdown, completion of disrupted 2019-20 Semester II online with a new, new fellowships, expansion in the Institute’s R&D infrastructure with installation of a state-of-the-art Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) facility and approval for the installation of a new 650 TF Super Computing System from the Department of Science and Technology, establishment of a Nidhi-Prayas Centre at IIEC to support young innovators, inauguration of NASSCOM Centre of Excellence in IoT & AI at IIT Gandhinagar Research Park, inauguration of a distinctive “Clay Studio” for artistic expression in pottery, being ranked 4th cleanest residential universities under the AICTE, Alumni Residency Program and Alumni Masterclasses, various fundraising campaigns and special drives to support IITGN’s close community, “30-30 STEM” programme by CCL, among others.
Articulating the Institute’s agenda for providing exceptional educational opportunities to its students, Professor Jain said, “In addition to the government-mandated financial assistance, we disbursed more than Rs 5 crores to students as scholarships, fellowships and travel grants during the financial year 2019-20. Such exceptional financial support has only been possible due to the generosity of our donors and well-wishers, and prudent fiscal management at the Institute. Our young alumni have also established ten individual and two group scholarships of Rs 1 Lakh each.” He went on to share information about several new donor-supported scholarships and philanthropic funds given by numerous well-wishers around the globe, which will benefit the students and researchers for the years to come.
In his farewell remarks for the graduating class of 2020, Professor Jain said, “You all are very well prepared in terms of values, attitudes and capabilities to take on the most difficult challenges of today as well as those you will encounter in the future. For all the difficult choices that you will have to face in life, I wish you all the wisdom and courage to take decisions and to bear their consequences.”
38% of the graduating BTech students have received international exposure in the form of study abroad programmes, summer internships or participation in international conferences. Total 14% of students from this graduating batch are expected to go for further studies and close to 20% of BTech students are expected to pursue higher education. They will be pursuing MS, MTech, MBA, Integrated Masters, or PhD studies in various universities or institutes such as Georgia Tech; State University of New York; University of Washington; University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Texas A&M University; École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland; ETH Zurich, Switzerland; IIM Ahmedabad; IIM Calcutta; IITs; and so on.
Total 154 companies participated in IITGN campus recruitment this year. Out of the total number of BTech students who had sought placements this year, 70% have been recruited. Enphase Solar Energy Pvt Ltd and L&T Construction recruited 12 students each. Japan based organisation Diverta Inc offered the maximum package for BTech, while Nutanix Technologies India Pvt Ltd offered the maximum salary package to MTech.