President of India, Pranab Mukherjee was the Chief Guest on the occasion 20th Convocation of Himachal Pradesh University (HPU) here today. He conferred the degree of Doctor of Science to Dr. R.C. Sobti, Vice Chancellor, Central University, Lucknow, P.hd degree to Ashwani Kumar, Governor of Nagaland, Honorary degree in absentia to Padamshri Vijay Sharma, renowned artist from Chamba district, Honorary P.hd degree to Sanjay D. Patil, and to other students of HPU Shimla.
Earlier, Governor Urmila Singh, who is also Chancellor of the University, while presiding over the function welcomed the President and said that it was matter of pride that the President of India had graced the occasion by sparing his valuable time. She said that Pranab Mukherjee had special love and affection for Himachal Pradesh and had also paid visit to this institution earlier as a Minister in the Central Cabinet.
She congratulated the students and research scholars who were being presented degrees and honoured on the occasion. She also congratulated teachers and the officers and officials of the University on the occasion.
Governor said that HPU was one of the leading centres of learning which had produced scholars and eminent personality in various fields. She said that such learning institutions play an important role in shaping the destiny of students who were considered to be edifice of future ‘Bharat’. She said that the nation and society have lot of expectations from educational institutions especially universities which were temples of learning. She said that energy of youth should be channelised towards constructive activities and teaching community plays an important role in guiding youth towards constructive goals. Only responsible youth can build a strong, able and vibrant nation, she added.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, while speaking on the occasion, welcomed the President on behalf of the people of the State and expressed heartiest gratitude for sparing his valuable time from his extremely busy schedule. Congratulating the students, he said that it was a great moment for the students who had excelled in academic and would be receiving the degrees and medals today. He said that the Professors of the University also deserve commendation for their valuable contributions enabling the students achieve these honours.
“We have made strides in various fields including literacy and education, and have emerged as leaders not only among small States but also the bigger States” said Virbhadra Singh. The number of students coming from rural areas to pursue higher studies, especially girls, was not only increasing but they were also excelling in the field, said the Chief Minister. Even in this convocation, the girls have outnumbered the boys and we are proud of it, added he.
“It also confirms our belief that if given opportunities, the girls can achieve greater heights” he said. The Chief Minister said that Himachal Pradesh was one of the first States in the country to make girls education free at all levels.
Referring to the implementation of ambitious flagship programme of Rashtriya Uchchattar Shiksha Abhiyan of Government of India in the State, Virbhadra Singh said that we have mandated the University to undertake time bound academic reforms, as told to him , was being done in the right earnest.
He hoped that the University would meet the new challenges in the 21st century and would continue to contribute in the development of the State as well as the Nation.
The Vice Chancellor, Himachal Pradesh University Prof. A.D.N Bajpai proposed vote of thanks and said that HPU Shimla was the only university in the country where Pranab Mukherjee had participated in the convocation functions thrice at different times in various capacities.
In all 465 degrees were conferred on the scholars which included 204 Gold Medals and 261 P.hd degrees.
Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma, Chief Secretary S. Roy, DGP B. Kamal Kumar, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Shimla Sanjay Chauhan, Deputy Mayor Tikender Panwar, Chairman, H.P. Public Service Commission, Major General (Retd.) C.M. Sharma, Members of University Court, Academic Council, Executive Council, and prominent citizens of the town were present on the occasion.