835 students from the class of 2024 graduate at the University's 10th Convocation

Amaltas trees dotted with resplendent yellow flowers, blazing red blossoms of Gulmohar trees, and the lush green campus added colour to the hundreds of exultant faces of graduates as Shiv Nadar University celebrated its Tenth Convocation on Sunday. 

Graduation day at Shiv Nadar University is like no other. It is a day freighted with symbolism and layered with significance with the underlying theme of onward and upwards.

A decked convocation venue hosted over 3000 parents, siblings, grandparents, and guests of the graduating class. The students and guests were treated with speeches from Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, sarod maestro and Padma Vibhushan awardee; Mr. Krishen Khanna, renowned artist and Padma Bhushan awardee; Ms. Sukla Mistry, first woman director of refineries in IndianOil Corporation; and Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma (Retd.), Ashoka Chakra awardee and the first Indian in space, who received their honorary doctorate degrees.

Speaking at the sidelines of the Convocation, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan said, "It is important for students to be patient and tolerant to achieve in life (Bardasht aur sabar zindagi ka ibadat hai). Intolerance will delay a person's journey to their goal." Commenting on receiving the honorary doctorate, he said, "Love and appreciation are the only bank balance I have in my life. I am thankful and humbled by this honour. Music like flowers, fire, fragrance, air, and water don't have any religion. Music is a medium that connects the world. Everyone needs to be connected to appealing music."

The convocation ceremony began a day earlier with a parent's parade followed by an evening of music and films at the Student Activity Centre. Parents who had travelled for the event across the country explored the classrooms, labs, infrastructure, and dining halls and visited the University's Bio Diversity Park.

Satish Madhavan, father of Tejasvi Satish, Class of 2024, said, "On her last day at SNU, I am reminded of the first day we left her on campus when the pandemic had left a trail of destruction. Four years have passed, and now I see a more confident Tejasvi, ready to take on her future challenges. I thank the University as she made it to the University of California, Berkeley."

Beginning the Convocation on Sunday, Shikhar Malhotra, congratulating the Class of 2024, said, "As you step beyond the confines of this campus into the expanse of the world, let compassion be your guiding light and imagination your compass. Let us strive for excellence and embrace the challenges with resilience and determination. My unwavering belief is that we can make a difference in India and the world."

Among the attendants were the proud parents of convocant Sara Sainani. Craning her neck to spot her parents in the crowd, she said, "I am so lucky to have my parents here to watch me move a step closer towards my future. They are the most important people in my life and have always been extremely supportive," said the B.Sc (Research) Biotechnology graduate.

Giving his address to the gathering, Shiv Nadar, Founder and Former Chancellor, Shiv Nadar Institution of Eminence, Founder, HCL; Chairman Emeritus & Strategic Advisor to the Board – HCL Technologies, Founder & Chairman, Shiv Nadar Foundation, said, "I was impressed by the institution where I studied, whose founders built them in a remote place like Coimbatore. They made a difference in my life. My mother also guided me in giving back to society. This gave me the courage to build SSN Institutions and later Shiv Nadar University as part of the Shiv Nadar Foundation. My message to the graduating students is that they should remember that greatness awaits you through hard work, perseverance, and the relentless pursuit of your dreams." 

Vice-Chancellor Professor Ananya Mukherjee, delivering her 2023-24 report, listed the achievements of the University, awards won by the institution, faculty and the success stories of students. "I congratulate the four distinguished individuals who will be our alumni – Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Mr. Krishen Khanna, Ms. Sukla Mistry and Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma (Retd.)."

Quoting a poem from Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Professor Mukherjee said, 

"May you always rise,
Like the Sun inevitable from behind the mists,
May life victorious find its voice in you,
May the universe find in you the wonder it has sought forever since the beginnings of time
May you always rise. 

As you move into the next phase of your life, please remain in touch with this University." 

Laying out the plans for the year ahead, Professor Mukherjee said, "Several new academic programs are underway, some with international partnerships. These will be truly innovative in the Indian context and for the world. We will host a global summit in December this year titled 'Beyond Borders: Innovation, Impact and Higher Education.' In this summit, we will explore innovations from space research, Artificial Intelligence, genetics, arts, sciences, social innovations and much more. We expect to have over 300 delegates from across the world. We will also inaugurate a 350,000 sq ft building on campus, which will be bigger than the four academic blocks we already have. The University Activity Centre, already under partial operation, will be inaugurated for full operations. More student residences are also coming to accommodate our planned growth." 

Welcomed to deafening applause, Mr. Abhinav Bindra, Chief Guest and Convocation Speaker told the students about the challenges he faced on his path to glory. "All success is about learning to fail and sharpening your unique super-power. To the graduating class of 2024, the world is your canvas; fill it with joy, camaraderie, empathy and dreams," he said.

Expressing his joy to receive the honorary doctorate, Wing Commander (Retd.) Rakesh Sharma said the honour was a recognition to his parents, schoolteachers, the National Defence Academy, and the Indian Air Force. 

"The students here are tomorrow's leaders; they will lead the country in business practises, innovation, strategy and governance. There is an urgent need to save the planet from our greed. I hope that the graduates here will find answers to critical issues facing the planet," said Wing Commander Sharma. 

Giving his acceptance speech in absentia, Mr. Krishen Khanna, the 98-year-old Padma Bhushan awardee, said, "I am grateful and honoured by the recognition I have received from this great University. Students need to remember that this University is set to have a great bearing on India's future."

Reminiscing his days at England's Imperial Service College, he added, "I still remember my days as a university student. The friendships you make with students and the professors who taught you will always stay with you. These memories need to be held with great reverence as they enable great work to happen. All of us will disappear; what will remain is the work we leave behind."

Called a woman of many firsts, Ms. Sukla Mistry, after accepting the honorary doctorate in her speech, said, "Shattering the glass ceiling to move from the post of an inspection engineer to the first woman Director of IndianOil Refineries was just one of the many challenges I faced. Besides facing visible and invisible challenges in a male-dominated area, I realised that no job was too small or big. I took this opportunity to learn and perform. A key learning I follow is that growth and comfort can't coexist."

The evening of the winners continued with the graduates receiving their degrees. The segment began with BA Sociology (Research) student Tanmay Pandya bagging the Gold Medal with a CGPA of 9.71; winning the Silver Medal was BA (Research) International Relations and Governance Studies student Aditya Ramakrishnan with a 9.69 CGPA.

As the graduates trickled out of the Indoor Sports Complex, some to party, others to celebrate with family, future plans loomed large, mixed with appreciation for their formative years at Shiv Nadar University.