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IIT Bombay Holds VR-Convocation

23 Aug 2020

The 58th convocation of IIT Bombay was held on August 23, 2020 from 1.30 pm onwards in Virtual Reality mode, keeping in view the safety measures during the ongoing pandemic. The Institute thought it best to arrange such a VR-convocation for the graduating students as we did not wish to put their health at risk but at the same time, we did not wish to deprive them of the sense of achievement and pride of passing out of India’s premier engineering Institute. The personalized avatar of each graduate received the degree certificate from the personalized avatar of the Director Prof. Subhasis Chaudhuri. All medal winners received their medals from the personalized avatar of the Chief Guest.

The entire event was telecast on DD India and DD Sahyadri channels as well as Youtube and Facebook live.

The convocation is normally a chance for students to socialize with their friends and faculty one last time. This year the institute provided an opportunity for students to do so via virtual presence, allowing students to roam around a virtual campus, visit their hostels and departments virtually, and bump into/meet their friends and faculty.

Prof. Duncan Haldane, co-recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics, and a Professor of Physics at Princeton University, was the Chief Guest during the ceremony. Mr. Stephen Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, world-renowned investor and philanthropist was the Guest of Honor.

Professor Frederick Duncan Michael Haldane, FRS is currently the Sherman Fairchild University Professor of Physics at Princeton University and a Distinguished Visiting Research Chair at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Prof. Haldane worked as a physicist at Institut Laue–Langevin in France and moved to the University of Southern California, and was at the University of California, San Diego until he moved to Princeton University in 1990. Prof. Haldane is known for a wide variety of fundamental contributions to Condensed Matter Physics including the theory of the Haldane gap in integer spin chain systems and theoretical studies of Luttinger liquids, fractional quantum Hall effect, exclusion statistics, entanglement spectra and many more.  With David J. Thouless and J. Michael Kosterlitz, Prof. Haldane shared the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics for “Theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter".

Mr. Stephen A. Schwarzman is Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, a leading global investment firm with $564 billion in AUM and businesses in private equity, real estate, hedge funds, credit, infrastructure and life sciences. In both business and philanthropy, he dedicates himself to tackling big problems with transformative solutions. His major gifts have helped establish a new Center at the University of Oxford to redefine the study of the humanities for the 21st century, create a new college at MIT dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, build a first-of-its-kind student center at Yale, renovate and expand the New York Public Library, and found an international fellowship program, Schwarzman Scholars, at Tsinghua University in Beijing to educate future leaders about China.

Mr. Schwarzman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Business Roundtable, and International Business Council of the WEF. He was named one of Barron’s “World’s Best CEO’s” in 2019; one of Forbes’ Top 50 “World’s Most Powerful People” in 2018; Forbes’ “Most influential person in finance” in 2016; and one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2007. His honors include the Légion d'Honneur and Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France, and Order of the Aztec Eagle from Mexico. In 2019, Mr. Schwarzman published his first book, What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence, a global best seller which draws on his experiences in business, philanthropy, and public service.

Presenting the Institute’s Report for the year 2019-209, Prof. Subhasis Chaudhuri, Director of IIT Bombay informed that IIT Bombay continues to be a much sought-after destination for UG and PG studies. Prof. Subhasis Chaudhari said, “Producing top quality graduates who would be future leaders in industry, research and academia is the primary goal of IIT Bombay. The skill they developed, the work culture they picked up and the peers they made during their studies at IIT Bombay will help them achieve success in their lives. The entire nation will be looking forward to their contributions in taking our country ahead”. He further said, “Providing a virtual reality experience to all our graduates needed not only highly innovative steps but also a tremendous effort by our professors and staff. They did it for the students. Hopefully this will enthuse our graduates as well as other engineers in the country to think big and think innovatively”.

Chief Guest Professor Frederick Duncan Michael Haldane, FRS, in his speech said, “There is a lesson for everyone involved in research. Even if you are involved in a very goal-driven project, try to find some small share of your time to investigate unexpected curiosities that sometimes show up along the way. The analogy is that you may be walking along a path kicking a few rocks with your boots, but if you don’t look at your feet, you may miss a huge rough diamond that your kick exposed, and just walk on by. Of course, eventually someone else may walk that path and see the gem that you inadvertently unearthed but failed to notice”. 

In his speech, Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone, said, “India occupies a unique position in the world today, especially when it comes to technology, where it has established global leadership through its talent. Of the 72 Indian-origin engineers who have founded unicorns across the world, 50 percent are IIT alumni. IIT engineers are defining the global technology landscape and the newest alumni will be the next generation of future global leaders who will advance that mission. You, IIT Bombay graduates,  must seize the opportunity to be leaders of impact who are a force for change - and for good - in this world." 

"Blackstone is a leader in the financial industry because innovation is in our DNA. Innovation is the lifeblood of any thriving organization or country and will continue to be a huge driver of India's growth," Schwarzman continued. "With a young, ambitious and tech-savvy population, a forward-thinking government that supports entrepreneurship, and the fourth-largest start-up ecosystem in the world, India is poised to stake its claim as one of the world's great innovation hubs."

The graduating students this year include 381* PhDs, 18* Dual Degree (MTech/ MPhil+PhD) and 27* Dual Degrees (MSc+PhD). Out of these, 39 research scholars were selected for the award of ‘Excellence in PhD Research' for the year 2018-20. In addition, 33 joint PhD degrees, in association with Monash University, were also conferred by the Vice-Chancellor and President of Monash University Prof. Margaret Gardner, on the occasion. (*including PhD degrees awarded during interim convocation).

This year, one PhD degree under joint supervision with Washington University in St. Louis, USA, and two Cotutelle PhD degrees, one each [in MTech+PhD and MSc+PhD programme] in agreement with University of Wollongong, Australia and with Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières in Canada were also awarded.

Besides these, 11 MS (by research), 6 Dual Degree (MSc+MTech), 621 MTech, 64 MDes, 20 MPhil, 110 MMgt, 225 two-year MSc, 2 five-year integrated MSc, 342 Dual Degree (BTech + MTech), 684 BTech Degrees, 10 Interdisciplinary Dual Degrees (BTech/ BS+MTech/ MSc), 20 Dual Degrees (BDes+MDes), 6 Dual Degrees (BS+MSc), 16 BS, 15 BDes, and 16 PGDIIT, were awarded at the Convocation.

This year, three students were presented the Gold medals for their exemplary performance. The ‘President of India Medal’ was bestowed on Sahil Hiral Shah, a (B.Tech) student from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. The ‘Institute Gold Medal (2018-19)’ was awarded to Shashwat Shukla, a student from the Department of Electrical Engineering. ‘Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma Gold Medal’ was conferred on Prakash Singh Badal, a Ph.D. student from the Department of Civil Engineering. Additionally, departmental toppers were presented with silver medals by the chief guest.

Prof. Margaret Gardner, President and Vice-Chancellor, Monash University, Australia, members of Board of Governors and several other distinguished guests from India and abroad attended the Convocation function online, besides the graduating students and their proud parents.

The link to the Director’s Report: