President of India Ram Nath Kovind graced and addressed the 160th convocation of the University of Madras in Chennai on Saturday.

Speaking on the occasion, Kovind said that from the middle of the 19th century, the University of Madras has been a cornerstone of our nation-building project.

He noted that in the region, it is popularly referred to as the “Mother of Universities”.

Kovind said that the expression “change with continuity” is often used and sometimes overused. “But in some institutions it is as meaningful as at the University of Madras. One of the hallmarks of this University has been its ability to incorporate change even while keeping basic values intact. This attribute has helped it stay contemporary and relevant to emerging needs of students and of society,” he said.

“The range of courses and subjects offered here symbolises this – and spans the traditional liberal arts to 21st century disciplines,” he added.

Kovind said that the University of Madras has both benefited from and contributed to a tradition of scholarship that is central to Tamil Nadu’s identity.

“Universities such as University of Madras are expected to be our navigators on this journey. Institutions in Tamil Nadu have shown commendable agility in nurturing an ecosystem that helps engineers and other qualified young people to become entrepreneurs and job creators. This is the route to the future and this is the pathway for the youth of our country,” he added.