XXXVII Annual Convocation Of SSSIHL

A time tested, value-based educational model, Sri Sathya Sai Institute Of Higher Learning, a deemed university, is turning thirty-seven this year. Instituted with far-sighted Divine Vision of Founder Chancellor Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai, the role model university has been serving the nation and the world at large with its core value-based curriculum, specially designed by the Divine Chancellor. SSSIHL held its 37th annual convocation this morning in the Divine OmniPresence of Founder Chancellor Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

The grand ceremony saw the Honourable Chancellor, Sri K Chakravarthi, IAS (Retd.), admit 471 candidates to their degrees. This included 282 undergraduate, 82 postgraduate, 99 professional and 8 Ph.D. awardees.

The chief guest for the ceremony was Dr. Renu Swarup, currently the Secretary, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India.

The event began at 1030 hrs with a ceremonial regal procession carrying the University Standards  entering the venue. University Brass Band led the procession, ushering in the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Deans and the Heads of Departments along with the Chief Guest, Members of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning Trust, Academic Council and the Board of Management.

The Revered Founder Chancellor then declared the 37th Convocation Open, with His Divinely mellifluous voice resonating the hall, “I Declare The Convocation Open”.

The Vice-Chancellor, delivering the convocation address, highlighted on the golden jubilee achievement of the  Anantapur Campus, the first of the four campuses. It is a testimony that our system of Values-based Integral Education – which addresses the holistic development of our students – has stood the test of time, observed the Vice Chancellor.

On the academic front, he said that the nation’s leading student-teacher ratio of 9:1 and highly qualified and dedicated faculty members has led to excellent academic performance across the Institute. This is reflected in the fact that SSSIHL has an overall examinations pass rate of 96%. He mentioned the commitment SSSIHL has to teaching quality and gave examples of new initiatives such as the introduction of a new M.Sc. in Data Sciences programme and the addition of need-based electives such as Health-care Management as a part of the existing MBA programme.

Perhaps the keystone of recent progress at SSSIHL has been research. From the excellent external funding from top agencies to the SAKURA Science Exchange Program organized by the Japanese Government, Prof. Varma underlined the progress in the area of research at SSSIHL in the past academic year. The most significant was the dedicated Central Research Instruments Facility at the Prasanthi Nilayam campus. Established recently, it provides state-of-the-art infrastructural facilities under a single roof, housing a complement of latest and advanced characterization/analytical tools, including several sophisticated advanced instruments in the areas of disease biology and plasmonics. As a result, the research output of the Institute has witnessed a significant rise during the last two years, noted the Vice-Chancellor. This is reflected both in the quality and quantity of research and the number of Ph.D.’s that have been awarded (12 in 2017 and 8 in 2018). Above all, the academic and research output at the university continues to be dynamic and addresses the societal needs and demands, in line with the vision of the Revered Founder Chancellor, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

The convocation oath was then administered by the Vice-Chancellor, after which the nineteen Gold Medalists of the Institute were honoured. These fine women and men students excelled in the Faculties of Sciences, Management & Commerce and Economics & Humanities during the academic year 2017/18.

Following this, the Chief Guest, Dr. Renu Swarup delivered her convocation address. Addressing the fresh graduands, the Dr. Renu Swarup hailed the  uniqueness of the prevalent system of value-based education of blending secular knowledge with spiritual knowledge and its great contributions to society.

She went on to stress how Education and Science must play a key role in transforming lives, impacting society through improved healthcare, agriculture, environment and industrial growth, which in turn lead to societal impact.

Dr. Swarup then summarized the recent developments of India in the field of science and technology such as the number of research publications and patents to achieve the government’s Sustainable Development Goals. She touched upon areas of excellence such as the Space Programme, agricultural productivity, healthcare and technological advancements to enhance clean water and energy for the country. India has taken a strong leadership position in many International mission oriented programmes in areas of Atomic Energy to Genomics to Artificial Intelligence. India is making significant process in these areas to meet the challenges that lie ahead, she said. These have helped us to move from being technology receivers to technology developers.

She highlighted the scale of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, for which she is the Secretary. Apart from support to over 800 institutes and laboratories and nearly 5000 scientists across the country, they support over 1000 start-ups and an equal number of entrepreneurs, academia researchers and small industries. This will ensure that the Biotechnology sector will create a positive impact nationally and globally, observed the chief guest.

Dr. Renu Swarup ended her talk with a special mention to the increasing number of women graduates and the important role they play in driving scientific development. She encouraged the graduands to embrace the huge responsibility of taking forward the values of this great institution. You have had the privilege of being part of a learning system which has taught you the importance of ethical and moral behaviour and instilled in you a great potential for discipline, leadership and teamwork. There are not many institutions that give you such a 360-degree exposure, she concluded.

Finally, the graduands were blessed with the Divine Benediction by the Revered Founder Chancellor, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Bhagawan exhorted students to dedicate themselves to the motherland by giving up transcending their ephemeral and transient lives, following the path of morality and integrity through human values. He exhorted them to embrace the sacredness of Bharat, because character is even more important than life.

Bharatiyas, He said, as soon as they get their degrees, run abroad to earn money. Instead, He encouraged students to stay back and serve the villages and the country. Advising the students to have a check on their hearts and thoughts, Bhagawan said, good thoughts lead to morality. Entertain positive thoughts and not negative.

Bhagawan concluded His benediction by advising students to make the most of their education here and work for social welfare. Education leads to life, love, man and service, which ultimately leads to peace.

The convocation ceremony came to a grand culmination with the national anthem followed by Mangala Aarati to Bhagawan.

II Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II