Amrita Commencement 2017

Greetings, on behalf of the University at Buffalo community!

I am honored to take part in this celebration today. My heartfelt thanks to Chancellor Amma, Vice Chancellor Venkat Rangan, and the entire Amrita University community for so kindly receiving our UB delegation from Buffalo.

Two years ago, I traveled here to Bangalore and had the pleasure of congratulating the Class of 2015. Today, it is my distinct pleasure to celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2017. I offer my heartfelt congratulations to all of the honored graduates gathered here. Your attainment of a twinning degree from Amrita and the University at Buffalo is a great achievement indeed. I have great admiration for your accomplishments. I know that many of you have families, and that most of you are working while completing your degrees. Many of you are already established in your professions.

Embarking on an ambitious course of graduate study is no small undertaking—especially when you have significant professional and personal responsibilities to manage at the same time. I know from personal experience how demanding that balancing act can be. During my own doctoral education overseas in Canada, I had to juggle my studies and my research with life as the father of two young children. So I have an understanding of the path you have taken to get to this day.

I know how much more meaningful your achievement is today for having successfully met these challenges. And I know how gratifying it is to celebrate this achievement with the family and friends who have supported you along the way.

So to all of the family members, mentors, and friends here today—thank you for all your support!

And to all of our graduates, I hope you take great pride in your achievements, just as our
University at Buffalo community does.

As graduates in the 21st century, you are competing in an international labor market. And, as graduates of our international twinning program, you are exactly the kind of educated citizens our world needs in the 21st century. You are graduating into a world where the local and the global, the personal and the public increasingly intersect.

The great challenges we face personally, and as a society, have no borders. These problems are complex—spanning the globe and cutting across a wide range of disciplines, fields, institutions and communities. So now, more than ever, we need ideas, solutions and collaborations that transcend borders of all kind—geographic, cultural, disciplinary and ideological. We need globally minded citizens who are ready to come together to tackle these challenges.

That’s where you come in! Your education has prepared you for exactly this kind of engaged global leadership.

Today we celebrate what you have achieved, and how you will use that knowledge to benefit others. That is the essence of our University at Buffalo mission—to enrich the world around us through our ideas, our discoveries, and our inquiry. As a global university, we deeply value the opportunity to pursue this mission in partnership with distinguished international partners like Amrita University.

The pursuit of knowledge always involves a certain amount of intellectual risk-taking. And this, too, is a proud part of our UB tradition. As graduates of our twinning program, you are an important part of this tradition. During your education, you contributed actively to the creation of new knowledge, and you will continue to do so as graduates.

Whatever your field, and no matter how far you already have advanced—there will always be new problems and unexpected challenges. You will use your education to change the direction of your profession. You will push the boundaries of accepted knowledge. And you will change our world for the better.

As alumni, we hope you will come visit us in Buffalo whenever your travels next take you to the United States. We hope you will continue to remain actively engaged in the life of UB. And we hope you will encourage more excellent students from India to follow in your footsteps by pursuing educational opportunities at UB.

In the meantime, congratulations once again on your graduation!  

And all best wishes for much success!