Padma Bhushan Dr Koppillil Radhakrishnan Calls Upon Ahmedabad University’s Class of 2022 to Leave a Legacy Behind and Make a Difference to Society

439 students celebrated a major milestone in their educational journeys as they graduated from Ahmedabad University receiving degrees at its 12th Annual Convocation on December 3, 2022. 205 students from the Amrut Mody School of Management, 27 students from the School of Arts and Sciences, and 207 students from the School of Engineering and Applied Science were recognised at the ceremony. The total count of graduating students also included four doctoral students. 

Presiding over the 12th Annual Convocation, Mr. Sudhir Mehta drew from his personal experience of relaunching their business as Torrent Pharma alongside his father, while addressing the graduating class. He said, “When I was in my second year of graduation, my father said that I needed to experience everything. I was forced to hit the ground running. I was never an expert at anything but I realised that there is no substitute for hard work. One needs to learn, and if you have made a mistake, you need to learn from your past mistakes and move on, that is the philosophy. If you remain committed to an idea deeply for a long enough duration, if you are sincere about your purpose, and you work hard then nothing can ever stop you from achieving your goals. And if your goals include doing something that is good for the society then you will always live a very meaningful life.”

Addressing the students, the University’s Vice Chancellor and Chairman, Board of Management, Professor Pankaj Chandra, said, “At Ahmedabad University, we have been pursuing three goals – to reimagine the classroom and to redefine how students should learn; to address some of the most challenging questions and problems of our times in our research; and to build responsible leaders and citizens of tomorrow – those who are concerned and are engaged. The University is now poised for a deeper engagement with challenges of the society as its foundation as a 21st century institution gets firmed up.”

Urging the graduating class to impact society through their learnings at the University, Professor Chandra said, “Let me say three things to you: One: You are privileged to be here today as you are equipped with the best of traditions of deep learning. You must make your education count. Believe in yourself and your goodness and you will do wise things. Second: Be grateful for what you have as many have worked very hard to help you reach where you are. Remember that your welfare lies in the welfare of others. Do things that will help make others better because others have done that for you. And Three: Take your chances and you will increase your likelihood of finding interesting moments and a meaningful life-path for yourself.”

The chief guest at this year’s convocation was internationally renowned technology leader, former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman Dr Koppillil Radhakrishnan. Congratulating the students on the milestone they had achieved, he exhorted them to look beyond the goal accomplished, to the future it promised. Dr Radhakrishnan said, “As you look forward to that future, I wish you to consider the option of taking action on the key technical, social and environmental issues that our world is facing today. Exactly what you want to do and where you want to see yourself is really up to you and your passion in life but we all need to be looking for better ways and means of realising an improved living environment for humankind while we walk on our way to personal growth. Particularly, we make a living by what we earn; we make a life by what we contribute.”

Speaking about the shift from technological transformation to technological disruptions and the significance of these innovative disruptions in generating intellectual property for India, Dr Radhakrishnan added, “If we have to judge by the developments in the last five years, the future promises an accelerated pace that we have never seen and envisaged before. It is time to contemplate at this juncture whether we should continue on a path of incremental innovation and improvement or aim for a paradigm shift and follow the path of disruptive innovation. The confluence of ‘Big Science’ and ‘Deep Tech’ is becoming increasingly relevant to solve the most formidable societal problems. Also, it is noteworthy that several Indian brains lead disruptive innovation elsewhere in the world, and many more Indian brains continue to support from the off-shore development centres located in India. Concerted efforts are essential to maximally harness this talent to generate intellectual property for India.”

About Dr Koppillil Radhakrishnan: Dr Koppillil Radhakrishnan (born 29 August 1949), a distinguished alumnus of IIM Bangalore and IIT Kharagpur, headed the Indian Space Programme between November 2009 and December 2014 as Chairman of Space Commission, Secretary of the Department of Space and Chairman of ISRO. Prior to this, he was the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (2007-2009) and Director of National Remote Sensing Agency (2005-2008) of the Department of Space. He had a brief stint of five years (2000-2005) in the Ministry of Earth Sciences as Director of the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS).

Presently, he is Honorary Distinguished Advisor in the Department of Space/ISRO, and Member of Space Commission; Member of National Security Advisory Board; Chairperson of the Board of Governors of IIT Kanpur & IIT Ropar, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the IIT Council, Chairman of the High Powered Committee on Indian Knowledge Systems (Ministry of Education); Chairperson of the Oversight Committee of Science & Engineering Research Board and Chairman of the Expert Committee of the ‘SATHI‘ Scheme (Department of Science & Technology); Member of the Societies of Autonomous Institutions under Ministry of Earth Sciences and Member of the Advisory Committee of ‘Governance Sector‘ for “Vision India 2047” Vision India. 

A Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering; Fellow of National Academy of Sciences, India; Honorary Life Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, India; Honorary Fellow of IETE, India; Distinguished Fellow of Astronautical Society of India; and Member of the International Academy of Astronautics, Dr Radhakrishnan was bestowed with Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2014. The Nature International Weekly Journal of Science chose him as one of the Ten people who mattered in the year 2014. He is the recipient of 12 Honorary Doctorates and 40 awards including Lifetime Achievement Awards from ISRO and Ernst & Young, and the Allan D. Emil Memorial Award of International Astronautical Federation. Under his leadership, ISRO received several accolades including the Gandhi Peace Prize for the year 2014 and the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2014.

Dr Radhakrishnan’s biography My Odyssey: Memoirs of the Man behind the Mangalyaan Mission, co-authored with Nilanjan Routh, was published by Penguin India Random House in 2016. A science documentary film Yaanam produced in Sanskrit, is based on this book. Dr Radhakrishnan was drawn into the world of performing arts at the age of seven, beginning with Kerala Natanam and Kathakali dance, and his pursuit of Carnatic vocal music still continues.

About Ahmedabad University: Ahmedabad University is a leading private, non-profit research university offering students a liberal education focused on interdisciplinary learning, practice orientation, and research thinking. The University, established in 2009, is rooted in the vision of one of India’s finest educational foundations, the Ahmedabad Education Society, which was founded in 1935 by nationalist leaders. Programmes at the University range from bachelors to doctoral levels in humanities and social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, and management through its 10 Schools and Centres:

Amrut Mody School of Management | School of Arts and Sciences | School of Engineering and Applied Science | Centre for Heritage Management | International Centre for Space and Cosmology | VentureStudio | Centre for Learning Futures | Global Centre for Environment and Energy | Centre for Inter-Asian Research | Ahmedabad Design Lab

An urban university, Ahmedabad promotes independent-mindedness and diversity across all dimensions of its activity and helps students mature into critical thinkers who are analytically equipped, practically oriented, and contextually aware global citizens. The University provides a contemporary educational framework that brings liberal arts, sciences, and the professions to engage together in creating new knowledge for addressing complex challenges of the society and in offering majors that merge the boundaries of disciplines to prepare students for the new economy.

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