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Sikkim Manipal University holds virtual 21st e-Convocation: 1,089 students took part

GANGTOK, 23 October 2021:  1,089 students of Sikkim Manipal University (SMU) received their degrees, in various multidisciplinary graduate, post graduate and PhD programmes during the 21st e-Convocation of the University organized on a virtual platform on Saturday, 23rd October 2021, keeping in mind the safety and well-being of the students and their family in accordance with the guidelines on Covid prevention.

Students from all constituent colleges and units of SMU namely Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology (SMIT), Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences (SMIMS), Sikkim Manipal College of Nursing (SMCON), Sikkim Manipal College of Physiotherapy (SMCPT), SMU Department of Humanities & Social Sciences, Departments of Medical Biotechnology and Hospital Administration were presented degrees in MBBS, MD-MS, B. Tech, M. Tech, , Bachelors & Masters in Nursing, Physiotherapy, Medical Biotechnology and Masters in Hospital Administration including BBA, MBA, BCA, MCA, MSc (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics), BA, MA, BCom, MCom and PhD Courses.The toppers amongst the students were awarded gold and silver medalslivestreamed in the ceremony from the safety of their homes as their achievements were acknowledge   virtually.

The entire ceremony was meticulously planned and executed by an expert team from the IT department of SMU, led by Anand Ruhela, Head of IT Department, SMU, the Engineering Department, SMU, and the Creative Team consisting of faculty and staff from various constituent colleges and units under the guidance of Lt. Gen Dr. Rajan S Grewal, Vice-Chancellor, SMU.

Governor of Sikkim, Ganga Prasad, who is also the Chancellor of SMU, presided over the function and addressed the students, faculty, staff and management via video conference.

Pro-Chancellor, SMU, Lt Gen. Dr. MD Venkatesh in his welcome speech thanked the Governor of Sikkim and Chancellor of SMU Ganga Prasad for his praiseworthy support and guidance to SMU. “The Governor and our Chancellor Ganga Prasad has been an ardent proponent and a very staunch supporter of higher education. Sir, we look forward to your continuing support and guidance to our University though your profound wisdom and vast experience in governance,” he said.

Dr. Venkatesh also acknowledged and thanked the Government of Sikkim led by Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang for his unstinting support to SMU and his inspirational leadership. “Our Chief Minister has been in the forefront of the commendable all-round development of the state and also his stellar contributions in the upgradation of the education and healthcare sectors of the state. We at SMU look forward to his continued support and guidance to achieve greater laurels under your dynamic leadership,” he said.

“For the last one and half years, the entire world has faced unprecedented challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic. Our lives have undergone major unforeseen changes, academic, professional and formal interactions have had to factor in social distancing and Covid-appropriate behaviour while on-line teaching, learning and digitally-enabled deliverables have gained profound importance. This not-so-new normal has significantly reconfigured the academic and occupational environment forever. We in the Manipal Group rapidly adapted to the changing paradigms and promptly realigned ourselves to optimally address the constraints and even convert these adversities into opportunities. Our academic institutions redefined the value-added teaching, learning, evaluation and assessment methodologies with the resultant by-products of highly progressive, high quality, hybrid academic deliverables.  Adoption of technologies, online learning, virtual classes, e-conferences, webinars have become integral to our educational imperatives. It is heartening to note that our Vice-Chancellor and his entire team at SMU have made remarkable progress to address these complex demands and challenges. They have all worked with the utmost sincerity and steadfast commitment to give their best for the benefit of the state, its citizens, our dear students and our patients in a high-quality, professional and caring environment,” Dr. Venkatesh said.

Addressing the graduating students, Dr. Venkatesh said that this e-Convocation is an unusual ceremony in an extraordinary time, but no way diminishes the importance and relevance of convocation ceremonies. “This which reminds us to celebrate life and all its brings with us, achievements big and small. We should embrace change with courage, zeal, dynamism and enthusiasm. We are confident that your value-added education at SMU will open the pathways of promising opportunities and attractive possibilities as you get set to build your life and careers.You, your family and friends, and all of us, should be proud of your achievements, as you are graduating from one of the best universities in Sikkim and the entire North Eastern Region, renowned for its excellent teaching, research and innovation. Your SMU qualification tells the world that you are ambitious, passionate and tenacious. These are excellent qualities, equipping you to make a difference to changing lives and shaping society for the better. Today, I can proudly say that the University has proved, beyond doubt, that even in difficult times like the Covid-19 pandemic, it has the academic capacity and knowledge, and the research capability to meet the higher education aspirations of students from across our country and successfully met all the challenges thrown to us by this rogue virus,” he added.

In his address as Chancellor SMU, the Governor, Ganga Prasad talked about the various challenges faced by students and educational institutions across the globe, in these unprecedented times of Coronavirus pandemic. “Under the able leadership since its inception, this University has achieved many achievements; and now SMU has attained a prestigious position in the higher education sector of the country. The highly educated, competent and dedicated faculty members of the University are committed towards ensuring that the students and scholars educated here are able to meet the challenges of their chosen profession in the competitive world.

The University is providing state-of-the-art facilities and striving hard to attract the best faculty to enable the students to meet their future responsibilities. The faculty members not only make the students professionally competent but also support them in building a holistic personality so that they can take up global responsibilities with confidence,” he said.” I am glad that SMU has achieved creditable positions in the university rankings by various reputed media agencies despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Today it is one of the top-ranked universities not only in Sikkim but in the entire North-East region,” he added

“Due to the closure of educational institutions because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, SMU has ably reconfigured conventional teaching and learning methods by leveraging technology to upscale academic delivery. I am also happy that all the educational institutions in our state – be it at the primary level or higher education, are using online modes in the best interests of the students in the midst of this severe crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. In SMU, even during the period of lockdown, online classes, e-evaluation, virtual competitions and even co-curricular activities were organized successfully. Technology came to us as a saviour, and I am glad that SMU is the first university in the region to take up this challenge and ensure high-quality learning with values and ethics to our students, to make them future ready,” Governor said.

The Governor also emphasized on three virtues of courage, perseverance and loyalty, that are essential in character building. He urged the students to give back to the society by being humble and grateful to all those who have contributed to their education and shaping their lives, in big or small ways.

The chief guest on the occasion, Dr. C. N. Manjunath, MD. DM, FICC, FACC, FRCP, eminent cardiologist & Director, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research, Bengaluru, delivered the Convocation Address via video conference.

In his speech, Dr. Manjunath reminded the students to not to be discouraged but celebrate all their academic achievements in such challenging times. “Because of explosion of technology, there has been a tremendous advance in medicine and engineering and other fields as well. We are now living in a digitalised world, but the fundamentals approaches of basic science in medicine and engineering remains the same. One shouldn’t lose touch with basic human values of empathy and compassion kindness.”

He also highlighted the Five e’s for nation building: empathy, education, economic environment entrepreneurship. “Service towards the mankind should be at the core of all learning. Dedication is more important than designation. Never stop learning because life never stops teaching. Graduation is both a concept and a process. Efforts are more important than results. There can be obstacles but the key is to have a positive outlook and face the challenges head-on and always reminding ourselves that problems can become opportunities only when we face them with conviction and will-power,” Dr. Manjunath added.

Earlier, Lt. Gen Dr. Rajan S Grewal, Vice-Chancellor, SMU, while presenting highlights of the University, reminiscedthe various milestones reached by SMU since its inception. “The 21st Convocation today is the launchpad for the bright future of our able students as they commence their fascinating journey of their career pathways, even as we celebrate the achievements of our University, our students and our constituent institutions & colleges; from our humble beginnings through the memorable spanof over more than two decades. We have consistently been ranked as one of the best medical & technical universities in the North Eastern region. Our objectives, in alignment with the ethics and ethos of the Manipal Group and in consonance with our mission & vision is to support, promote and undertake the advancement of academics; enhance use of ICT and modern education technologies; incentivise research, creation and dissemination of contemporary knowledge; facilitate outreach and community services; empower people of Sikkim and contribute to human development in North – East as also create social and environmental responsibilities among our students and employees and enable steady growth of the University.”

“SMU is a pioneering, successful PPP model in the high-quality healthcare and education sectors between the Government of Sikkim and the Manipal Pai Foundation. Today, we can proudly say that we have rendered yeoman service and contributed significantly to the education and health care sectors of Sikkim. 53% of our faculty, staff and employees are from the State of Sikkim, with an impressive gender ratio of 56 % in favour of women employees. We have made significant strides in the field of research, entrepreneurship, innovation and digitization. The training & placement of our interested students has been more than 95% in the past five consecutive years,” Vice Chancellor said.

SMU has leverage avenues of NEP 2020 by introduction of value added Multi-disciplinary, flexible and hybrid courses, programmes & capsules; launching of B. Tech in Artificial Intelligence & Data Science, and multiple entry/ exit programmes in Medical Biotechnology. The establishment of Skills Lab in SMIMS Medical Campus which has enhanced opportunities for upgrading basic, clinical & emergency management skills and also MoUs with national & international professional bodies include some key initiatives taken up by SMU, the Vice Chancellor highlighted.

SMU has contributed significantly to support to students and patients of Sikkim in the last one and half years. These include:  creation of 100 bedded COVID inpatient & ICU facilities at Central Referral Hospital (CRH); establishment of Molecular Lab for RTPCR tests & CBNAAT; sustained COVID-19 Vaccination drives; special scholarship to students who lost their sole- earning parent and offered employment to the next of kin of deceased employee who expired due to COVID-19 complications.

The Vice Chancellor, Dr. Grewal also took the opportunity to express sincere thanks to the Governorof Sikkim and Chancellor, SMU Ganga Prasad, Chief Minister of Sikkim, Prem Singh Tamang, Government of Sikkim for their laudable support to the University. He also wished all the students and the recently inducted alumni a bright and scintillating future with promising milestones and many illustrious laurels in their journey of life and career ahead. 

The programme ended with the Vote of Thanks by Dr. KS Sherpa, Registrar, SMU. The entire event was webcast for the students, alumni and public viewing through all virtual media platforms like Microsoft Team, Facebook and YouTube.

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