Cambridge (Massachusetts), May 31 (IANS) Sir Partha Dasgupta, Indian-born professor of economics at the University of Cambridge, UK and talk show celebrity Oprah Winfrey were among the nine people recognised with honorary degrees at the annual convocation of Harvard University here Thursday.
A development and welfare economist, born in “the then-Indian city of Dhaka” (now capital of Bangladesh) and educated in Varanasi and Delhi, Dasgupta was honored for his path-breaking inter-disciplinary study of relationships between poverty, population growth and the environment.
Oprah was honored as one of America’s most respected and influential public figures who rose from humble roots to create a global media empire and became a “beloved television icon and philanthropist.”
Oprah accepted the honor with folded hands in the traditional Indian gesture of namaste.
The 362nd commencement (as convocations are called in the US) at Harvard saw a total of 7,321 degrees and 44 certificates being given in a ceremony replete with American pomp and show at the famous Harvard Yard attended by over 32,000 people, who included students, professors and families and friends from the world over.
Harvard’s John F Kennedy School of Government – one of the university’s 13 schools- saw the passing out of 562 graduates and post-graduates from 78 countries, making it the most globally diverse academic program at Harvard University.
The year also saw Harvard diversify its global outreach, including a program that saw an intensive study of the Kumbh Mela religious festival in Allahabad, India “to examine the urban planning that goes into what is essentially a temporary city that provides services to millions of people over six weeks.”