The 21st convocation ceremony of Kuvempu University, held on Jnana Sahyadri campus at Shankaraghatta near here on Wednesday, was bereft of academic rituals such as awarding honorary doctorate and speech by an eminent person.

Kuvempu University had decided not to award honorary doctorate this year. It is said that the list of aspirants was quite long this time. There was strong lobbying in favour of a few swamijis who stood by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa during the political crises.

In the aftermath of the controversy triggered by Gulbarga University's decision to award honorary doctorate for some politicians and the infamous Dr Chidanandamurthy episode, there was a strong apprehension in the academic circles that the sanctity of the degree was put at stake. There was an instruction from Governor's office to Kuvempu University to avoid conferring honorary doctorate. Vice-Chancellor S.A. Bari had said the university had not awarded honorary doctorate in the past, at least on eight occasions. This is the fourth year in a year that the Kuvempu University had hold a convocation in the absence of the Governor, the Pro-Chancellor. Minister for Higher Education V.S. Acharya failed to turn up for the event.

P. Balram, director of the Indian Institute of Science, who had accepted the invitation to deliver convocation address, could not attend the event as his mother was ill.

Registrar Prof. Rame Gowda read out the address sent by Prof. Balram.