“Seeing the kind of research that Amrita Vishwa vidyapeetham does, I will say that yours is an institute with a difference. Yours is an institute devoted to very high quality science and technology, research and development for social benefit, and you bring values to education.”
Padma Shri Dr. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, member of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India made these remarks at the inaugural ceremony of recent Campus Day celebrations at the Amritapuri campus. Currently Professor at IIT Madras, Dr. Jhunjhunwala leads the Telecommunications and Computer Networks group (TeNeT) there.
“This institute is developing some of the best technologies that I have seen, such as video-based tools for education, virtual experiments and technology for enhancing vocational skills. Some extraordinary technology is being born here. It is still at an early stage, but this is not something you will easily find in most other institutes in our country,” he added.
Advising the graduating students, Dr. Jhunjhunwala said, “Amrita not only teaches technology, but also values, directly and indirectly. It talks about service to the nation, and motivates you to adapt your life as service to humanity. I want to say that you should also think about service to your alma mater, post graduation. Because if you strengthen an institute like this, society will change, the nation will change. It’s up to you, who are graduating to give back to your institute and make the change possible.”
Continuing to advice, he emphasized, “Whatever job you get, convert it into a loving action. This will transform your job, your motivation will become very different.”
Swami Amritaswaroopananda Puri’s benedictory address earlier touched on the same theme, where he recalled that Chancellor Amma constantly reminded us to remain centered in the heart.
“Our heart is the vital factor and the most important ingredient to transform and transport all our work and our entire life to another dimension – the dimension of joy, happiness, bliss and love,” Swamiji said.
“The absence of this is what makes things boring and dry, and ultimately leads to unhappiness and discontentment. So, without your heart in the work that you do, it will remain as labor. It will tire you, exhaust you, and leave you utterly empty,” Swamiji pointed out.
“Let us perform our actions in a prayerful manner and contribute to the future,” he further outlined.
The guest of honor, Prof. H. A. Ranganath, Director, National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), echoed the sentiments of the previous speakers. “Amrita provides a holistic education to students. With divine blessings, I am sure that the institution will bring laurels to the country and become an important model in higher education,” he stated.
“Across the global level, we need to have Indian institutions in the academic ranking lists. Amrita has all the ingredients and the critical mass to move forward and aspire to a rank in the global lists,” he emphasized.
Recalling the mission Amma outlined when the institution began, Dr. Venkat Rangan, Vice Chancellor, Amrita Vishwa vidyapeetham, shared, “Our goal is to take what the rest of the world might consider as ordinary students and transform them into extraordinary students during the course of their studies here.”
He highlighted Amma’s goals for the institution for the coming years. “Amma’s message to us, is to make the institution into the top research academia internationally, particularly by emphasizing on research that has a strong flavor of direct societal benefit.”
He outlined policies and mechanisms that were put into place recently towards this lofty goal. Every masters student, henceforth, would be required to publish a paper in a refereed journal and/or present at a top conference, in order to fulfill program requirements. Doctoral students will be expected to publish one paper a year at least, post their comprehensive exams. Appraisal for faculty members will take note of the number of publications and funded projects.
“The goal is to have every student and faculty member become involved in research that has some impact on society at the grass roots level,” he noted.
Awards of Excellence and Certificates of Appreciation were given to outstanding researchers. Campus magazine Amritarpan and the first issue of the campus newsletter Samved were released.
The evening function saw several heart-felt farewell speeches from graduating students. The day ended with cultural programs featuring songs and dance presentations.
With eighty acres of land and two million square feet of built-up area, the Amritapuri campus has five schools viz. engineering, arts and sciences, biotechnology, ayurveda and management. Research centers jointly oversee funded projects worth over Rs. 100 crores. There are over a 100 PhD scholars at the campus working towards their doctoral degrees.
May 2, 2013