Simon then introduced speaker Joydeep Munshi ‘21 Ph.D, who earned his doctorate degree in mechanical engineering.
Munshi noted the personal impact of the pandemic—due to the COVID-19 crisis his home country of India is currently facing, his parents were not in attendance at the ceremony. He empathized with his fellow graduates facing a similar situation. In addition to thanking his parents, Munshi also offered gratitude to his advisor, Ganesh Balasubramanian, associate professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics, for being a motivator and mentor, and his wife for support.
He also explained difficulties he experienced prior to the pandemic—Munshi transferred to Lehigh just days after arriving in the United States and starting at Iowa State University. The transition, which included another new time zone, cultural gaps and both geographical and environmental differences, proved to be difficult, Munshi said. His fortunes eventually turned as he became acclimated, meeting his future wife and beginning to enjoy his research at Lehigh along with collaborations with research groups at other universities. It was motivation, he said, such as Balasubramanian saying—“To achieve something pathbreaking, first we shall be building the path slowly and efficiently,”—that led him to an “incredible and memorable” journey at Lehigh.
In closing, Munshi quoted Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore in hopes of motivating his fellow graduates as they look to contribute and make an impact on society: “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high. Where knowledge is free. Into that heaven of freedom, my Father let my country awake.”
Doctoral candidates and those receiving master’s degrees were asked to rise by their respective College. Degrees were conferred by Simon before the name of each graduate was read by the College’s dean as they were individually recognized on stage. Doctoral graduates were recognized first and were hooded at this time.
Just over 400 graduates attended Friday’s ceremonies with more than 2,300 in attendance including guests, faculty and staff. The event was streamed live for graduates and their friends and family unable to attend.