Shillong (Meghalaya) :At the tenth convocation of Martin Luther Christian University, 686 graduates received their diplomas. They included four PhDs, and 325 master’s degrees. The number of graduates is a tenfold increase over the 62 graduates at MLCU’s first convocation in 2008. More than five thousand graduates have emerged from MLCU in the last decade.
Presiding over the ceremony as the Visitor of the university, Governor Banwarilal Purohit exhorted the graduates to contribute to the building of the region and the country. He said graduation is a historic day in one’s lifetime and the graduate’s future aspirations should be built on great role models. He described Dr APJ Abdul Kalam as an ideal role model, citing his humanity, scientific endeavour and commitment to excellence.
The convocation speaker, Paul Thomas, founder of the Evangelical Social Action Forum (ESAF) spoke of his journey to redress poverty and marginalization. ESAF was started by Paul, his wife Mereena and a few friends, in a small house named "Little" in Thrissur, Kerala as a Christian response to a national need. Today ESAF Bank is a leading micro-credit company with branches in several states serving 1.6 lakh families. In Jharkhand ESAF has created an integrated tribal finance and livelihood venture in 11 districts. He spoke of the concept of “the partiality of prosperity” and the need to reduce the great social disparities as India marches towards economic development.
The Dean, Dr Jennifer War presented the annual report of the university in which she highlighted the 38th rank of the university among private universities in India, from a recent survey by India Today magazine. She charted the progress of the university in promoting research in socially relevant topics and the continuing commitment to learning with a community interface. The PhD research projects included a study of single mother headed households, masculinity in Khasi men and a documentation of the musical techniques of the duitara, a traditional Khasi stringed instrument.