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A virtual celebration to honour the first Ashoka University McCall MacBain Scholar 

2023 McCall MacBain Scholar, Mohit Kumar ASP’23 and award winner, Rohit Vasishta, ASP’23 were felicitated on June 12th


10 July, 2023 | 4m read

A virtual celebration was held for Ashoka University’s 2023 McCall MacBain Scholar, Mohit Kumar ASP’23 and award winner, Rohit Vasishta, ASP’23 on June 12th at 5:30 pm IST.

Ashoka University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Somak Raychaudhury, John and Dr Marcy McCall MacBain, founders of the McCall MacBain Scholarship and Dr Pramath Raj Sinha, Founder & Chairman, Board of Trustees, Ashoka University along with teams from the McCall MacBain Scholarship and Ashoka’s Office of Global Education & Strategic Partnerships were present at this celebration. 

Prof. Somak Raychaudhury welcomed the audience and gave a brief overview of Ashoka University and its mission of higher education in the Indian landscape. After which Dr Pramath Raj Sinha, Founder & Chairman, Board of Trustees, Ashoka University applauded the McCall MacBain Scholarship team on the processes they followed in selecting the final candidates, acknowledging that it was indeed a very difficult task, given the high calibre of applicants! In further addressing the group he noted that providing high quality and inclusive education are important pillars of Ashoka’s mission. The university has given free education to over 1700 students since its founding in 2014. 

This was followed by Dr Marcy McCall MacBain’s comments in which she complimented Ashoka University and its faculty for paying very good attention to teaching and providing supportive mentorship to students that instils the confidence that she found in the Ashoka students. “So, it sounds like you’re doing all of the right things over at Ashoka. Thank you so much for being part of this fun programme and continuing with us in this journey together.” 

She continued to say that, “the best thing about learning is to discover that coming from humble beginnings is by no means a disadvantage.” However, “what we find is that talent is everywhere but unfortunately opportunity is not.” Hence, instituting the global piece to the McCall MacBain scholarship has been an important part of the work that the foundation has set out to do. 

Mr John McCall MacBain told the group that this was the very first international virtual celebration that the Foundation was hosting to honour the global scholars selected in the programme. “So, in the life of this scholarship, a hundred years from now this will be remembered as the first call with the International Scholars and hence we are creating history.”

John also spoke about the vision of the McCall MacBain Foundation to create a global community of scholars through these scholarships. Advising Mohit and Rohit as they embark on their studies at McGill University he said, “You are going to have to work hard, there will be some very hard days, but you know, those hard days will bring good days in the future.” In a lighter vein, he reminded the scholars to bring long coats and big boots to Montreal in preparation for the long cold winters!

Franca Gucciardi and Natasha Sawh from the McCall MacBain Scholarship team at McGill University added that all scholars are part of a leadership programme. They will meet every two weeks to review a purposeful curriculum, get mentorship and be part of several activities. The cohort has a dedicated space for these meetings as well as a place to meet socially within the group.  

Nadeem Akhtar, a faculty at Ashoka who taught Persian to Mohit Kumar was at the event and said, “It is a matter of pride and honour to see our students flourishing to new heights of success.”

After these messages certificates of achievement were presented by John and Dr. Marcy McCall MacBain to both Mohit and Rohit. 

A fun interactive segment followed in which Ashoka’s Vice-Chancellor Prof. Raychaudhury led a conversation with the scholars.  Answering a set of questions, Mohit said that the education he received at Ashoka, whether it was critical thinking or international issues, prepared him well for this next phase of his life. “Everything was very open here. The faculty teach keeping research in mind and that worked for me. For example, as I listened to music, I would end up writing a research paper on the genre of music that I really enjoyed and liked.” 

Rohit said, “I’m really glad that I chose to come to Ashoka because I was able to surround myself with really talented people all the time. With the great leadership from the management, faculty and amazing students these experiences have all equally shaped me. It provided me with the opportunities to pursue so many different things like the one we have been presented here with today. I would say that Ashoka has really prepared me to be able to pursue my dreams. I think Ashoka is a perfect bridge between the Indian education system and pursuing a global education anywhere in the world.”

Mohit Kumar graduated with an Advanced major in History and International Relations in 2023 and is the first and only Indian to be part of the 20 International McCall MacBain Scholars for 2023. Rohit Vasishta, who graduated with an Advanced major in Mathematics and Computer Science, is a recipient of one of the International Finalist Awards of Canadian $20,000 to support his masters programme. Both Mohit and Rohit have been accepted into master’s programmes at McGill University in Canada where they will begin their graduate studies in fall 2023.

The event wrapped up with a round of acknowledgements to all including the parents of both Mohit and Rohit. The session closed with a word of thanks from the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Raychaudhury and the GESP team. 

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