(With the batch of 2020 having an unusual graduation, it's a good time to revisit the farewell note to the first batch of PSG College of Technology (batch of '55) by (late) Prof. G. R. Damodaran.)
My farewell message to you all who are leaving the portals of this college and who are going to enter is that Swift’s apothegm - “that whoever could make two ears of coin or two blades of grass, to grow upon the spot where one grew before would deserve better of mankind and to more essential service to his country” - should ring in your ears and inspire you all to devote yourselves do the great task of building a ‘New Heaven in this New India’.
I wish you all good luck and success in your career. You are the first of those many who will go out of this college as full-fledged engineers. The future progress and prosperity of our country are mostly in the hands of engineers. Our country needs all sorts of workers but none so much as those who can discover and conserve natural resources and forces and who can create means of utilizing those resources for the benefit and comfort of society with minimum cost and maximum results eliminating as much waste as possible. There is nothing which Engineers cannot accomplish, provided they are of the right type. As a matter of fact, you should consider yourselves just as another high-class machine in the chain of tools and machines used to manufacture and construct. Therefore, you must realise that this human-tool must be a first-class tool and must never think of itself.
I would like to quote a passage that defines the qualifications and attainments of an Engineer.
1. “The qualifications for achieving success in engineering are intellectual and moral, honestly, courage, independence of thought, fairness, good sense, sound judgement, perseverance, resourcefulness, ingenuity, orderliness, application, accuracy and endurance. An engineer should have the ability to observe, deduce, to correlate cause and effect, and to apply the principles discovered.”
2. “Dealing with men, he should have the ability to cooperate, to organize, to analyse situations and conditions, to formulate problems, and to direct the effort of others. He should know how to inform, convince and win confidence by skilful and right use of facts. He should be able to be alert, ready to learn, open minded but not credulous. He must be able to assemble facts, to investigate thoroughly, to discriminate clearly between assumption and proven knowledge.”
3. “He should be a man of faith, one who perceives both difficulties and ways to surmount them. He should not only know mathematics and mechanics, but should be trained in methods of thought based on these fundamental branches of learning. He should have extensive knowledge of the sciences and other branches of learning besides knowing intensively those things which concern his specialties. He must be a student throughout his career and keep abreast of human-progress.”
May I appeal to every one of you to aspire to become endowed with such faculties and prove yourselves as assets to the nation!
You have been with us for the past four years and we have lived as a happy family. I consider that the ideal institution that I aspire for cannot be built in one day or one year or even in a decade. Great institutions that exist today have taken many years for their growth. You have had the privilege of associating yourselves with this college from the first year of its genesis. You have identified yourselves with your alma mater and you, to a certain extent, have contributed to the building up of this institution. Your brick in this edifice of the college will ever be cherished. On this occasion, I will be failing in my duty if I do not congratulate and thank all of you for your contribution and for the exemplary manner in which you have conducted yourselves during these four years.
I need not stress that you as alumni of this college should endeavour to acquit yourself creditably wherever you work worthy of your alma mater. You will be thus not only chalking out a bright career and future for yourselves but also be setting up an example for your younger brothers who may step into the world from here to emulate.
My colleagues, the members of the staff, have during these years contributed to a larger extent in preparing you and in moulding you so that you may take your rightful places as good and useful citizens of our great country. The members of the staff have, in addition to carrying out their normal work, planned the buildings and equipment and have assembled and installed the new equipment obtained in the new buildings. I consider that you and I will be failing in our duties, if we do not on this occasion, offer our grateful thanks to all the members of the staff for their services.
I am sure that the opportunity you had, to learn and understand the problems of building up an institution like this will not be available for other students under normal conditions. This opportunity should have enriched your experience. I am confident that when you take up a responsible job, you will prove yourself competent to build up a similar institution, or an industry, small and big, or a project. I want to stress that hard and intelligent work, a high standard of efficiency, and a very high degree of precision and accuracy, are all very essential. Knowing all of you very well and intimately, I have absolutely no doubt that you are quite fitted to undertake any responsible work and that you will distinguish yourselves as good and efficient engineers, thus contributing your share in raising the standards of living and in making our nation a great nation.
-Prof. G.R. Damodaran
Source: PSGCT Year Book 1955
(Read The Story of PSG Tech to hear from a student of the first batch)