The 80 and 81 Convocations of Andhra University held here on Monday was probably the biggest as far as the number of Ph.D. and M.Phil. degrees put together awarded, 807. The number was big because two convocations have been clubbed.
AU authorities announced that 746 would receive Ph.D. degrees and 61 M.Phil. degrees. There might be a few absentees but presentation of the degrees along with more than 400 gold medals and other prizes for toppers in all subjects in research, post-graduate, under-graduate and diploma courses, saw the presentation part stretching to nearly three hours.
This was in spite of arrangement made for quick presentation of the degrees and awards. The scholars were handed over their certificates (given in folders for the first time) as they were seated in the Convocation Hall in the rows of seats marked for them. M.P.Ed. students and NSS volunteers, led by NSS Coordinator N.A.D. Pal directed the rows of scholars towards the dais as soon as their subjects were called. Two volunteers standing beside Vice-Chancellor G.S.N. Raju and Registrar K. Rama Mohana Rao collected the folders from a candidate as he or she was two or three persons behind the one receiving the degree certificate, and handed over to the VC, who presented the certificate to the candidate as he or she stepped in front of him.
But most of them left the Convocation Hall as soon as they received the certificates and a small crowd was left in the auditorium when chief guest B.V.R. Mohan Reddy, Chairman of IIT-Hyderabad and CMD of Infotech Limited delivered his Convocation address.
Among those who received their Ph.D. degrees were Surveyor General of India Swarna Subba Rao, who also awarded the Sri V.B.V. Reddy research medal for his thesis in geo-engineering. APSRTC MD and Vice-Chairman and former Commissioner of Police of the city J. Purnachandra Rao was scheduled to receive his Ph.D. but he did not come. Padma Sri award winner and senior physician Kootikuppala Surya Rao, former Mayor Rajana Ramani, noted social worker T. Saraswathi Devi were among those who received their Ph.Ds. Professors of campus colleges received Best Researcher awards. They were K. Venkata Subbaiah, Y. Rajendra Prasad, R. Satya Raju, V. Valli Kumari, M. Sundara Rao, G. Chakdradhara Rao, S. Sumitra and K.V.S.R. Prasad.