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SRM University confers honorary Doctorate on Saina Nehwal & Dr. A R Lakshmanan

October 19, 2016

Ambassador Evan Samuel Dobelle, former chief of protocol and assistant secretary of state in the Jimmy Carter administration, was the chief guest at SRM University’s special convocation held on Sunday, October 16. The convocation saw more than 6000 students getting degrees in Engineering and Technology, Science and Humanities, Medical and Health Sciences and Management. 190 students were awarded certificates of merit for their accomplishments in different disciplines. One of the highlights of the special convocation was the conferment of Doctor of Literature, D.Litt (Honoris Causa) on Saina Nehwal, ace shuttle badminton player and Olympic Bronze Medalist and Justice  , former judge of the Supreme Court of India. 
Ambassador Dobelle called on the graduating class of SRM University to love and protect democracy. “You are in a participatory democracy. You have to tune in your own passion and happiness to love and protect democracy,” Ambassador Dobelle said. 

“You are the symbol of your generation. You are the face of India. Economically the country is growing so fast and you are the global supplier of man power and woman power. The United States has the highest regard for India. You are pioneers in every area; and you don’t have to go to Russia or the United States. They come here. Look around you today. You are the best and the brightest generation of the world,” Ambassador Dobelle told SRM University graduates. 

“The whole world is looking at you,” Dr. Lakshmanan said while giving his acceptance speech for the D.Litt degree.“You are living in a fast changing world. Young minds like you have to think innovatively. You have to have the ability to look beyond the immediate and think of the future of the nation,” he added. He made a passionate plea to popularise organ donation. “There is the need and necessity to create awareness”, he maintained adding that every departed soul has the potential of saving eight lives through donation of their organs. “This is a noble gesture of the highest order,” he said. 

Recalling that she never wanted to be a sportsperson but of a journey that started in Hyderabad with Karate as a young girl, Nehwal said that she was lucky to play shuttle badminton at national and international levels. “Today shuttle badminton is the second most huge sport in India than ten years ago. It is very different,” she said. “This is not the end. You have more to achieve. Exercise or have some physical activity for some thirty or forty minutes daily. Stay strong and fit,” Nehwal advised the graduating class. 

“We are proud when you all graduate from here with degrees and with distinctions. But what makes us happier is when you have also contributed your might to the betterment of society. Knowledge and intellectual power alone does not propel India as a Great Power or a Super Power—India becomes truly a great nation only when the bridge between the haves and the have – nots narrows,” said vice chancellor Professor Prabir K. Bagchi in his welcome address. 

The chancellor of SRM University Dr. P. Sathyanarayanan presided over the special convocation.

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