In its 39th Convocation, Utkal University graced former Chief Justice of India Ranganath Mishra with the Degree of Doctor of Laws and Priyabrata Das, Jayanta Mohapatra as well as Manoj Das with Degrees of Doctor of Literature, Honoris Causa, on 28 January 2006.
The second largest university in the country with 316 affiliated colleges having a student strength of 1,49,000, the UU has 27 Post Graduate departments, two constituent Law Colleges, a Directorate of Distance and Continuing Education and a number of research and extension centres.
On account of their competitive track records vying with the best in India, 17 out of 27 PG. departments of the university have qualified for assistance from UGC, DBT and FIST even as three of them are accredited as Centres of Advance Studies.
But the University had not been able to hold its convocation for last four years due to bureaucratic interference in its management. Its academic climate was in doldrums under chancellorship of a retired IAS officer when he was the Governor of Orissa. During his tenure an IAS officer of Orissa cadre was appointed as administrator of the University and revered teachers were suspended from service.
However, the scenario has changed. A seasoned public figure Rameswar Thakur has joined Orissa as Governor and is presiding over the University as its Chancellor. He has been showing keen interest in affairs of Universities with a positive approach and as far as Utkal University is concerned, it has a Vice-Chancellor in Prof. L.N. Mishra who puts all premium in academic environment and a very able Registrar in Bijay Kumar Mohanty, an officer of Orissa Administrative Service. Thanks to untiring efforts of the later duo and encouraging interest of Sri Thakur, the convocation could be a reality.
Besides the Honoris Causa awards, the University conferred Dctoral Degrees, Gold Medals, Endowment Gold Medals and Endowment Prizes for 2004 to the successful candidates of the year.
Conferring the awards, Chancellor Sri Thakur informed that the university has prepared its vision document to focus on a few thrust areas in future so that it may realize its goal of achieving the status of University of Excellence.
Transition to a system of acquisition of knowledge through choice rather than a water-tight environment and greater emphasis on multi-disciplinary learning are the key elements of the future vision, he disclosed.
The convocation was addressed by Dr. C. Rangarajan, Chairman of Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister. Dwelling on post liberalization economic performance and areas of priority attention, he admitted that “Differences in growth rates among states have become more pronounced after liberalization”. However, he disclosed that “the populous states have grown weakly in the last eleven-year period”. Saying that monopolies do not lead to efficiency, he opined, “If the regional disparities have grown, it is in part a reflection of the quality of governance”.