The 1,414 graduates at the Loyola College would have expected the plaudits and words of encouragement coming their way during their Graduation Day, but few would have expected the chief guest to break into an impromptu musical gig - a performance that elicited a resounding applause.
The graduates were treated to a performance on the mouth organ by Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Oscar Fernandes. Later he revealed that his flair for music was primarily due to the ‘Marine Band’ brand of harmonicas - an instrument that he was used to for a fairly long time.
Earlier, Fernandes raised the pertinent issue of low levels of research in Indian universities in his address. He rued that not one Indian university figures among the top 100 universities world-wide. In this context he promised all help to Loyola College to figure among the global-100 universities.
Talking about the vast strides achieved in the education sector ever since the UPA rode to power at the Centre, the minister said that the percentage of students going to universities - which was a mere 7 pc when the UPA inherited the government from its predecessor, the BJP-led NDA - has increased to 18.5-20 per cent.
On the occasion, 1030 undergraduate, 340 post-graduate and 44 MPhil students received their degrees in person. Among them were 60 gold medallists, 13 of whom were the differently abled.
When asked about the status of the Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway, Fernandes said that he would be chairing a review meeting in this regard. “Only after the meeting would I be in a position to comment,” was his response.