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SKMU’s first date with first citizen

Tucked away in underdeveloped Santhal Pargana’s Dumka district, the two-decade-old Sido Kanhu Murmu University (SKMU) is all set to find a place of pride on the coveted list of Indian academic institutions that have had the President as their chief guest on convocation day.

Come Monday, April 29, 2013, first citizen Pranab Mukherjee will award medals and degrees to 74 students from 25 constituent and affiliated colleges of the varsity that was established in 1992.

Sources at SKMU said 29 students would receive gold medals from the President, while 45 PhD scholars and 826 subject toppers will be awarded degrees.

For Mukherjee, it will be his 17th convocation speech since he became the first citizen of India on July 25, 2012. This year, it will be his eighth. He will also be the third Indian President to grace a convocation in Jharkhand. His predecessors Pratibha Devisingh Patil and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam were the other high-profile chief guests, both at Ranchi University (RU).

Kalam had honoured 1960-born RU with his presence on February 13, 2004, after students of this prestigious varsity had remained deprived of wearing the prized gown for nearly two decades.

The varsity had won a second date with an Indian President on its 25th convocation. Pratibha Patil had attended the function on December 10, 2010, and awarded gold medals to 36 students.

Though Mukherjee will be the third president to attend a convocation in Jharkhand, for SKMU it would be the first opportunity to host a President.

Since he became the first citizen, Mukherjee’s first convocation speech was at IIT-Kharagpur on September 15 last year. He had expressed his happiness to be a part of the elite cradle’s diamond jubilee celebrations.

So far, the President has been chief guests at 15 convocations in Bihar, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bengal and at Delhi.

Mukherjee is scheduled to meet students of Utkal University in Odisha on April 25, which marks the institution’s 45th convocation.

Do you think SKMU will earn kudos from the President?

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