It was a day of great fulfillment, a day to look back with pride and a sense of achievement for an institution with a deep faith and commitment in the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge, an institution with the firm belief that knowledge empowers and knowledge shall only be used for the common good. The Medical and Vision Research foundations celebrated the 25th Convocation day of their educational arms, the Elite School of Optometry, the Vidyasagar Institute of Bio-Medical sciences and the CU Shah Ophthalmic Post Graduate Training center, on the 18th of September 2013 at the Chinmaya Heritage centre on Harrington road, with justifiable pride and great passion. The day’s proceedings started at the packed to capacity ‘Tapovan Hall’ with the colourful pageantry of a ceremonial procession of the graduating students accompanied by the distinguished Chief Guest Dr S. Ravi Kumar, Dean, JIPMER, Pondicherry, Dr SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus, Dr TS.Surendran, Vice-Chairman, Sankara Nethralaya, the Heads of the various Departments of the Vision Research Laboratory, Senior Consultants and distinguished guests in their colourful graduation gowns, truly a moment to freeze and cherish for the proud graduating students.
Dr SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya extended a warm welcome to the honourable Chief Guest, special invitees Dr. Vidyasagar Dharmapuri, Dr. Nagamani Vidyasagar and Dr Joe Benjamin, the esteemed dignitaries on the stage and the entire gathering. He had a special word of praise for the Chief guest Dr S.Ravi Kumar, Dean, JIPMER who chose to serve his home land, turning down lucrative offers in the West, underlining that the need of the day was highly qualified, high caliber, service minded individuals like him who would lead the country to great heights. He had a word of thanks to Industrialist and philanthropist Shri CK Shah to whose benevolence the Elite School of Optometry largely owed its existence. Dr SS.Badrinath highlighted that Education and training had been key areas of the Sankara Nethralaya ever since its inception and the educational instititons of Sankara Nethralaya were strongly committed to character building and grooming good citizens as much as producing subject matter experts.
Srimathi Anuradha Narayanan, Lecturer, Elite School of Optometry, set the tone of the day with a quote from Robert Frost’s timeless words on the need to go miles on one’s path of endeavour and Dr S.Meenakshi, Director, Academics, Sankara Nethralaya followed it up with a most interesting and inspiring account of Sankara Nethralaya’s 25 year journey on the road to education and learning and memorable milestones crossed along the way, from the foundation of the Elite School of Optometry by Professor Jay Enoch, Prof SR.Govindarajan and Dr SS.Badrinath in 1985 to the granting of prime land at St .Thomas Mount by Dr VG.Appukutty, she underlined that the ESO was a world class optometry institute with strong societal values and admitted students strictly only on merit. Dr S.Meenakshi credited the Vidyasagar Institute of Bio Medical Science with inspiring young minds and conducting high quality research in basic medical and fundamental science, and commended the role of the CU Shah institute in Post graduate studies in preparing a large number of students for their FRCS and Diplomate examinations.
Introducing the Chief Guest Dr Ronnie George, Director- Research, Vision Research Foundation observed that he was a man of outstanding academic and research excellence, has been rated as the best doctor in the USA several times, published more than 130 publications and hailed as the ‘Man to watch in the 21st century’ and it was a great honour to have him preside over the graduation ceremony. Delivering the Chief Guest’s address Dr S.Ravi Kumar congratulated the graduating students for reaping the fruit of their efforts from a superb institution run under the stewardship of a great visionary and world class ophthalmologists. He echoed Dr SS.Badrinath’s sentiments that while it was easy to expand the size and volume of an educational/Medicare institution the challenge was to maintain the same high quality while doing so and congratulated the ESO for winning in this challenge, congratulating the institution for going beyond is role of an optometry teaching and training center, to acting as vision ambassadors, through progressive measures like conducting free eye camps and for its pioneering role in placing Tamil Log mar/ visual acuity charts at vantage points in the city for the welfare of the common man. The chief guest strongly emphasized the need for health equity and justice and underlined that they were indispensable to sustain economic change and growth in the long run.
The graduation ceremony was also an occasion to honour and reward the masters who were responsible for the shining performance of the students as much as the graduating students and old associates, rich tributes were paid to the stalwarts and great teachers on the stage namely Prof PP.Santanam, Dr S.Ramaswamy, Prof Pichaimuthu, Prof.S.Veeraraghavan, Professor Sabiha N.Jameel and Professor Sumathi Narayanan who were being felicitated on the occassion. The occasion also marked the honouring of Dr HN.Madhavan, Director Microbiology department, Vision Research foundation and Dr G.Sundar Director, BITS, Pilani with the outstanding scientist awards and felicitation of Shri K.Ravi Shankar, the first Registrar of the ESO. The momentous function came to an end with a warm vote of thanks by Dr. J.Malathi, Reader, L &T Microbiology Department, Vision Research Foundation.