Good evening and welcome to SPJIMR faculty/staff/student’s alumni,
It is great that so many members of the SPJIMR family are coming together on this occasion.
Your institute turns 39 today. Under normal circumstances, this would be a time to celebrate, reflect, share and then celebrate a little more. But these are not normal circumstances.
39 is an interesting age. At 39, you are still young enough to try new things, to pivot when needed, and to face new and difficult challenges with positivity and energy. You are also old enough to be taken seriously by your peers, to be responsible, to realise that you are responsible for the wellbeing of many others, and it is in the privileged exercise of this responsibility that much of your purpose lies.
It has been a whirlwind 45 days for us at the institute. I still recall the day after we asked our students to leave the hostels. I took a walk up and down the length and breadth of our institute. It felt eerily different.
It was as though someone had taken a gigantic vacuum cleaner and sucked the energy out of the institute. I had said it before, but never felt it as much as I did that day. The students are the lifeblood of our institute. It is your energy, your laughter and your success that keeps us going. The African phrase Ubuntu taken literally means I am because you are. It is true of our relationship with our community . We are who we are because you are who you are.
We have been quick to move to online classes in many programs. The rationale has been to create continuity of learning, and ensure that when operations return to face to face classes, we are relatively ready to hit the ground running, and recover lost ground. This, in itself, has not been easy. Our faculty are having to unlearn strengths built over a lifetime and adapt to an environment where you can not hear the sounds of desks thumping, or the laughter and energy of a class which has been surprised by the warmth, humour and panache of a skilful teacher. Many of our students are taking classes in difficult and uncertain environments.