Convocation 2011

The UoH convocation is scheduled for October 1. Since we mark October 2 as our Foundation Day, and October 2 will always be a holiday in India, the suggestion that October 1 henceforth be the “University Convocation Day” has some merit. It would, for one thing, greatly help in scheduling.

The convocation speaker this year will be Dr Anil Kakodkar, eminent nuclear scientist and former Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, former Director of the BARC, Mumbai. A man of many parts, Dr Kakodkar is known for being unabashedly self-reliant on matters nuclear, while also calling for more stringent safeguards, particularly in the wake of Fukushima.

One of the highlights at the Convocation is the speech by the chief guest, and while its not certain what Dr Kakodkar will talk  about, I was thinking about the Vonnegut Commencement speech that made the rounds of the internet some years ago. For those who will graduate this year, and will be too young to have known about it (or who would not care, anyway) in the late 1990’s, a speech was circulated (largely by email) purporting to be the text of the Commencement Address by Kurt Vonnegut Jr at MIT. This was a hoax- the speech was written by Mary Schmich under her own name in the Chicago Tribune, but viral spreading through the internet brought it a certain amount of fame and some unwanted notoriety. In any case, the speech, while not particularly deep,  has many nice parts to it, and for those who may not have come across it before, here are excerpts (taken from Andrea Wesseleyi’s site where a fuller description of the whole story can be found).

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97: Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly  parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth. 
Addendum: A reader of the blog told me that this “speech” was set to music by Baz Luhrmann so maybe many of you would have heard it before. In case you haven’t, here is the Youtube link.


16 thoughts on “Convocation 2011

  1. If the University authorities had declared the convocation days at least one month earlier many more people could have attended it. The convocation notification came as a surprise and many people could not apply on time.

  2. I propose that Shri Ratan Kumar, who passed away recently in a tragic accident, may be offered a posthumous honorary degree.

    University loses nothing but we gain goodwill and respect with this small gesture.

    – C K Mitra

    • Sir,

      I am just putting forth a suggestion…Please neglect it if I am making no sense. Why don’t we bring a Non-politician and Non-Science personality as the Chief Guest for the Convocation? Someone from social science or humanities background. Many students of UoH who are either from Social Science or Humanities are having this feeling that ifor almost all important functions in our University we are bringing or inviting personalities from Science Background….

      And just one more thing: It is regarding the security issue in the camopus. During night time so many cars and other such vehicles which definitely dont belong to the students or faculty members could be seen in the campus. And like that some former students who were rusticated from the University are roaming around the campus freely, for doing all sorts of political activities in the campus and for this purpose they are bringing their friends who are not students into the campus. They are showing their old ID cards to the Security and without having any thorough look at them they are letting these people in. One thing Security people can do is to look at the date oon the ID card or ask for semester ID. For example, a PG students ID card is valid for only two years or maximum 3 years. Or, if some one is coming to visit their friends in the University security people should ask them, who is the host in such case, his name, hostel, room number, department, course, etc. They should also make a call to the Host student and only after that the guest shoud be let in. So, by doing this we can, to certain extent reduce such security problems in the campus. These guys are making all sorts nuisance in the campus. In the past two months so many girls, including my some of my friend had some very bad experiences from such goons. So, please do the necessary steps for this issue.

  3. I would like to suggest that UOH should send the DVD/CD of the convocation proceedings to all their recipient of degrees in Convocation whether in person or absentia by post. This may be courtesy from the UOH or otherwise make it available on payment base.

    I find it surprise that not even a single photograph of convocation is placed on the University website.

    Dr. Mamta

      • And why not a summary video of the convocation (say ~30 minutes) be uploaded in youtube? Sorry if it is already there.

        Are alumni also invited to the convocation? If the convocation is going to be a strictly annual event, it may be a nice idea to ask the alumni if they wish to participate? Unfortunately I could not attend my convocation despite being invited to receive my gold medal! In future, if I happen to be in India during October, I would love to attend the convocation.

  4. sir,

    Iam seeing many friends are facing financial problems some students are yet to be settled in their present fields . so my sincere request is that please bring down the convocation fee to 300 rupees i hope you will do it..

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