Annual Convocation
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The annual convocation, held every year on 22 November, forms an integral part of the Academic Calendar for all stakeholders of SSSIHL. The sentiments of this special day are aptly reflected in the oath that the students take on the Convocation ceremony, in the Divine presence of the Revered Founder Chancellor.
Over the last three decades, Presidents, Prime Ministers and Cabinet Ministers of the Government of India, Chief Ministers and Governors of Indian States, ardent devotees and many educationists and legal luminaries have participated in the Convocation ceremony and proceedings.
The highlights of the function are the conferring of the various Doctoral Degrees and Gold Medals, addresses by the Vice-Chancellor and the Chief Guest, and the Benedictory Message by the Revered Chancellor. The programme concludes with a play staged by the students of the Institute, focusing on the unique lessons learnt by them in the University. These plays are guided by the Revered Founder Chancellor and the student's love for Him motivates them to give their best performance.

SSSIHL XXXVI Annual Convocation - A Report

22 November 2017 | Sai Kulwant Hall
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Deemed to be University) held its 36th Annual Convocation at Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam on 22 November 2017 in the Divine Presence.
The Chief Guest
The chief guest of the 36th Annual Convocation was was Prof. Anthony R West, Professor of Electroceramics and Solid State Chemistry, Dept. of Material Science and Engineering, University of Sheffield, U.K. Prof. West has dedicated his professional life to the field of solid state chemistry with special interest in the synthesis of new oxide materials, their crystal structures and electrical properties. He a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Over the years he has received several awards, including an Industrial Award in Solid State Chemistry from the RSC (1996), the Griffiths Medal and Prize from the IOM3 (2008), the Epsilon de Oro Award from the Spanish Society of Glass and Ceramics (2007) and the Chemical Record Lectureship from the Chemical Societies of Japan (2009). He has been awarded the 2013 John B. Goodenough Award in Materials Chemistry by the RSC, a lifetime award which recognises exceptional and sustained contributions to the field of materials chemistry. He has more than 480 research publications to his name with an h-index of 61. He has supervised more than 60 students for their doctoral degrees.
The Procession
The chief guest of the 36th Annual Convocation was was Prof. Anthony R West, Professor of Electroceramics and Solid State Chemistry, Dept. of Material Science and Engineering, University of Sheffield, U.K. Prof. West has dedicated his professional life to the field of solid state chemistry with special interest in the synthesis of new oxide materials, their crystal structures and electrical properties. He a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Over the years he has received several awards, including an Industrial Award in Solid State Chemistry from the RSC (1996), the Griffiths Medal and Prize from the IOM3 (2008), the Epsilon de Oro Award from the Spanish Society of Glass and Ceramics (2007) and the Chemical Record Lectureship from the Chemical Societies of Japan (2009). He has been awarded the 2013 John B. Goodenough Award in Materials Chemistry by the RSC, a lifetime award which recognises exceptional and sustained contributions to the field of materials chemistry. He has more than 480 research publications to his name with an h-index of 61. He has supervised more than 60 students for their doctoral degrees.
Following the invocatory veda chanting, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. K B R Varma prayed to the Revered Founder Chancellor to declare the convocation open. The Convocation was then declared open in the Divine voice of Bhagawan Baba.

 
 
The Vice-Chancellor’s Speech
The event began at 10 a.m. when the SSSIHL convocation ceremonial procession, led by the university brass band and two students carrying the University Standards on either side of the Registrar (who carried the Ceremonial Mace) entered Sai Kulwant Hall in Prasanthi Nilayam. Other members of the procession included the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, the Chief Guest, Deans and the Heads of Departments, and members of the Board of Management and the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust.
Following the invocatory veda chanting, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. K B R Varma, prayed to the Revered Founder Chancellor to declare the convocation open. The convocation was then declared open in the Divine voice of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
In his speech to the students, the Vice-Chancellor highlighted the growth of the University in the past thirty-six years and how Bhagawan Baba Himself shaped the unique model of values-based education. He then detailed the achievements of the University during the past academic year. This included the outstanding student teacher ratio of 8:1 (one of the best in India), the recent of growth of interdisciplinary research (including substantial funding of Rs. 70 million rupees received for research from various government agencies like DRDO, ISRO, DAE, DST, DBT, BRNS and UGC) and other relevant statistical highlights. He also mentioned the SSSIHL Central Research Instruments Facility (CRIF), a new, high-quality research facility at SSSIHL that houses major equipment and infrastructural resources required for the University faculty, doctoral research scholars and postgraduate students to gain high quality training for pursuing directed research in frontier areas.

 
 
Graduands admitted to their degrees
Following this, 457 candidates for the various programmes of study were admitted to their various degrees (undergraduate, postgraduate and professional programmes) by the Honourable Chancellor, Justice M N Venkatachaliah, former Chief Justice of India.
The convocation pledge was then administered by the Vice-Chancellor, after which the four All-Round Medallists, 18 Gold Medallists and 12 Ph.D. students of the University were honoured.
The all-round Gold Medallists is awarded each year to one exceptional student per campus who has exhibited exemplary conduct and behaviour in respect to duty, devotion and discipline in addition to excellent performance in academics. The Gold Medallists are fine women and men students who excelled in their respective programmes in the Faculties of Sciences, Management & Commerce and Economics & Humanities during the past academic year.

 
 
The Chief Guest’s Speech
Prof. Anthony R West then delivered his convocation address to the students. He recalled his humble beginnings in a hard world as a baby boomer back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and how that shaped his career of almost 50 years. He based his message on three major pieces of advice to the students: Find your niche in life and you never need to work; Make the most of the resources and facilities available; and Be inventive and have the courage of your convictions (be a leader, not a follower). In the end, he advised the graduates to be positive, believe in themselves, not to be afraid of the unknown, and seek out new challenges and opportunities.
He encouraged them to dream big, reminding them that it is remarkable how all the big developments that we see around us in technology, transport, communications, healthcare and so on, had very small, humble beginnings. He illustrated this by the old English saying, ‘from little acorns, tall oak trees grow!’
The Divine Benediction
Finally, the graduands were blessed with the Divine convocation benediction by the Revered Founder Chancellor, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He stresses on understanding the value of education, which is beyond the upkeep of our physical body and materialistic needs. What man needs most is character, He said. Knowing the true nature of one’s self is important. Turning inward will help man find self-control. Man has travelled to the moon but he isn’t able to travel within for even half an inch.
Education is not meant to satisfy the senses. Instead, we must be able to demonstrate our character. This is most essential for modern students. Learn to be ideal in society by being righteous and compassionate. Be empathetic towards your parents and help others. Brush aside anger, ego and other bad qualities. The only way to attain immortality is sacrifice. He ended His benediction by telling students that Love is your greatest property!
The morning session ended at 12:45 p.m. following the national anthem and Managala Aarti.

 
 

The Evening Session

The evening session of the convocation commenced after an engaging speech by His Excellency, the Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu following the inauguration of Sri Sathya Sai Archives—a state-of-the-art facility built with the objective of preserving the precious messages of Bhagawan Baba for posterity—in Prasanthi Nilayam earlier that afternoon.
In his talk, The Honourable Vice President reiterated the need for such a facility so that for thousands of years, all the pieces of His grand message for humanity can be preserved.
He was really touched to be in the Divine Presence of Bhagawan Baba and said, “Seeing His devotees is like having Darshan of Him.” He talked about the great traditions of India and how Prasanthi Nilayam is the headquarters of spiritualism in the world. Moreover, he said, Bhagawan Baba has been an example of giving Love and Service to all humanity. He ended by asking all of us to commit ourselves to Bhagawan Baba’s work and follow His lead.
The Convocation Drama
The theme of the convocation Drama this year was Bhakti (Devotion) - that absolute experience that sublimates every moment of a seeker’s life into a momentous expression of Divine Grace.
Although Bhakti Marga (The path of Devotion) has existed for ages, the Bhakti Movement of this holy land of Bharat (India) is timeless; and in this Kali Yuga, it is perhaps best expressed by the tradition of Nama Sankeertana and Bhajana Sankeertana (chanting and singing the name of the Lord).
Titled Sankeertana Saaram (the Soul of singing), the story focused on one such Bhajana Sankeertana Samithi that is etched with the emotions of this noble tradition that dates back three hundred years. Right from the days of yore, these artists and their art belonged only to the Divine. Their unparalleled dedication to the Lord could never be swayed by the worldly mirages of fame and fortune.
Yet, as the winds of change greet their doors, the group finds its lead singer, Chakrapani, trying to take the Lord to every home in a world that only seeks the pursuits of pleasure. On the other hand, Raghupathi—now left alone at the helm of this age-old ship—gives his all to steer it on to the right course, silently braving all the tides of doubt gushing from all sides, and even from within.
This meandering voyage from the gentle waves to the grand crests, from the tempestuous twists to the overwhelming tides, culminates on the wise shores of the final destination that every heart beats for, the Lord Himself.
Following Prasadam distribution and bhajans, the SSSIHL XXXVI Convocation concluded with Managala Aaarti at 7 p.m.

 
 
VIDEO
To see the video of the SSSIHL XXXVI Convocation, Kindly click on the below links:
I hereby solemnly declare and promise that, if admitted to the degree for which I have been duly recommended, I will in my daily life and conversation, and in thought, word and deed, conduct myself as befits a member of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning; that I will to the utmost of my capacity and opportunity, support the cause of sound learning, humanity, morality and spirituality; and that as far as lies in me, I shall uphold and advance the social and indeed all round welfare of my countrymen and fellowmen.
Convocation Oath, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
© Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Vidyagiri, Prasanthi Nilayam - 515 134, India.