The IIT-Bombay on Sunday held its 58th Convocation in which the personalized ‘avatars’ of students were awarded degrees from the ‘virtual figure’ of the Director Suhasis Chaudhari, in what is described as a global first.
“We thought it best to arrange such a virtual reality convocation so as not to put their health at risk, but simultaneously, not deprive them of the sense of achievement and pride of passing out of India’s premier engineering institution,” said an IIT-Bombay official.
Since the convocation is one last chance for students to socialize with their friends and faculty, the IIT-Bombay also arranged for them to do so via ‘virtual presence’ in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
The students were allowed to roam around on a virtual campus, drop into their hostels and departments virtually, bump into or meet their friends and faculty.
The Chief Guest of the prestigious virtual convocation was Prof Duncan Haldane, the Co-recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Physics, and Stephen Schwarzman, Chairman and Co-Founder of Blackstone was the guest of honour.
Prof. Subhasis Chaudhuri also presented the IIT-Bombay’s annual report for 2019-2020, while Prof. Haldane and Schwarzman addressed the students.
“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,” remarked Chaudhuri.
This year, three top students bagged gold medals for their exemplary academic 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.
The ‘Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma Gold Medal’ was conferred on Prakash Singh Badal, a PhD student from the Department of Civil Engineering.
Additionally, departmental toppers were presented with silver medals by the chief guests.
Among the scholars this year were 381 students with PhDs, 33 Joint PhDs, 18 Dual Degrees (M.Tech/M.Phil and PhD), 27 Dual Degrees (M.SC and PhD.), from whom 39 research scholars were selected for the ‘Excellence in PhD Research’ for 2018-2020.
The Joint PhDs, in association with Monash University, Australia, were conferred with their degrees by the President and Vice-Chancellor of Monash University Prof. Margaret Gardner.
This year, one PhD degree under joint supervision with Washington University in St. Louis, US, and two Cotutelle PhD degrees, one each [in MTech+PhD and MSc+PhD programme] in agreement with University of Wollongong, Australia and with Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres 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.
Prof. Gardner, members of IIT-Bombay’s 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.