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'We will be counting on you,' Commencement speaker tells LTU grads

Release Date: December 5, 2021
LTU

Graduates and their families in the Don Ridler Field House Saturday. 
LTU photo / Matt Roush

SOUTHFIELD—Believe in yourselves, have character and integrity, realize you don’t know it all, and appreciate the simple things in life.

That was the message Saturday to nearly 200 graduates at Lawrence Technological University’s winter Commencement ceremony from speaker and honorary degree recipient Amit Kumar, consul general of India in Chicago.

Kumar said he was influenced by three people growing up: His paternal grandfather, a civil engineer and public servant; a math teacher in his high school; and his maternal grandmother.

From his grandfather, Kumar said, he learned “patience, resilience, belief in oneself, character, and integrity.” And when the math teacher admitted he was no longer qualified to answer Kumar’s questions, Kumar said he learned that no one has all the answers, and we must all work together. And his grandmother, who grew up in difficult circumstances yet never became a bitter person, taught him “to enjoy the simple things in life.”

“Each generation benefits from the wisdom of those before,” Kumar said. “Today, we clearly need new ideas and paradigms. We will be counting on you.”

Kumar said his career in diplomacy has taught him that “life is not a zero-sum game, it is about creating win-win situations.” He said the internet brings us tremendous information, but that we also need to learn to filter out the noise, and avoid echo chambers where only our own views are amplified, never challenged.

“Do not let yourself be limited by the expectations of others, or by your own ideas of the limits of your abilities,” he said. “May all of you find joy and purpose in whatever you choose to do.”

The Alumni Achievement Award was also presented during the ceremony. It was bestowed upon Ketan Patel, a 1985 mechanical engineering graduate who is now vice president of operational systems and infrastructure with Freeport McMoRan Inc., one of the world’s leading producers of copper and gold. Patel told the graduates: “I was where you are about 35 years ago and it seems like yesterday.” And he said of his time at LTU: “If an introverted, shy kid who had an average academic record in high school can attend Lawrence Tech, and find the way to a rewarding life and career, I would submit that all of you can achieve your dreams and aspirations. I wish you all the best.”

Saturday’s ceremony was also the final Commencement for LTU’s seventh president, Virinder Moudgil, who is retiring effective Dec. 31. Moudgil enjoyed a hugely successful term of nearly 10 years as president, leading to the construction of many new campus buildings and laboratories, including the A. Alfred Taubman Engineering, Architecture, and Life Sciences Complex and the Lloyd E. Reuss and East Residence Halls. He also oversaw the upgrading of athletic facilities and the return of LTU’s football program, amid other sports expansion.

Moudgil led the creation of several new academic programs and the successful partnership with Ascension Michigan, when a new Nursing program was launched. During his tenure, he initiated and expanded partnerships with the city of Southfield, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., and Automation Alley, and helped develop the Centrepolis Accelerator, a manufacturing business incubator on LTU’s campus. He also enhanced diversity and the understanding of different cultures with the Global Citizen Award and the Global Village programs and the creation of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Next year will mark Lawrence Tech’s 90th anniversary. It will also be the start of new leadership and a bright and powerful future under the guidance of Tarek Sobh, LTU’s eighth president.

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

LTU

A Commencement tradition -- the cap toss. 
LTU photo / Matt Roush

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