HUA Holds First Graduations in United States


In a joint ceremony, The Hindu University of America located in Orlando, Florida, hosted the first Graduation Commencement along with its formal Facility Dedication Ceremony.  This history making event happened on Saturday, June 19, 2004.


The evening started auspiciously with traditional Hindu prayers recited by participants and guests alike.  Braham Aggarwal, Chairman of the Board, and Kuldip C. Gupta, President of HUA, presided over the ceremonies.  Lighting of the ceremonial lamp by BOD members and special guests Dr. Walter Leibrecht-President of Schiller University, and Vish Prasad-Dean of Engineering at Florida International University followed.


Dr. Walter Leibrecht, President of Schiller International University congratulated HUA in its efforts of spreading peace and harmony while educating the people of America on Hindu culture and values.  Declaring the extreme importance of institutions of higher learning like HUA playing a critical part in spreading diversity and culture, he reminded everyone that it is this blending of cultures which is the very fabric of this country. 


Swami Lalitananda, earlier a faculty member at Hindu University of America, then offered a special blessing after lighting an additional wick for the University, its programs, faculty, students and well wishers. 


Moving from the dedication portion of the program to the commencement ceremonies, it was announced that the first two students of the Orlando campus of HUA had completed all requirements for the following degrees. 


Ms. Jessica Sayles received the degree of Master of Hindu Studies in Vedic Astrology.  After offering her thanks and gratitude to Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of Learning and Knowledge) and Lord Ganesha (Remover of Obstacles) she acknowledged Chairman Aggarwal and President Gupta with a traditional greeting of reverence known as Pranam (folding of the hands close to the heart while bowing one’s head in respect.).  Instead of the American custom of cap and gown, the long-time Indian tradition of an embroidered ceremonial shawl was then draped around Ms. Sayles while she received her degree.  Ms. Sayles then formally pledged to uphold the dignity and integrity of the knowledge acquired and to place it at the disposal of humanity.


Ms. Uma Balu, the first student to initially register almost a decade before, received her Master of Hindu Studies in Hinduism.  Though unable to attend personally, her hard work and great accomplishment were applauded by all.  She was recognized formally in all the following events in absentia.


 Chief Guest Vish Prasad, Dean of Engineering at Florida International University then delivered an inspiring speech urging the graduates and HUA to take their message beyond America to North, Central and South America as well as the surrounding countries.  He encouraged the spreading of the teachings, practices, and cultural values beyond any boundaries of race, religion, nationality or locality. As the founding President of Latin American and Caribbean Consortium of Engineering Institutions (LACCEI), he expressed, “ . . . there is a huge appetite in the US and other countries to learn about Hinduism and Hindu practices, and a great demand of teachers in every related field.  This demand of well-trained teachers and professors in Hinduism is going to increase substantially in the future.”


Completing the formal program, Dr. Mahesh J. Mehta, a founding member of the Board of Directors of HUA eloquently elaborated the significance of the events that had transpired that evening.  Finally, the closing prayers requesting the blessings that all beings be happy were joyfully chanted by all.  In true Indian fashion, no celebration is complete without a feast.  The HUA provided a wonderful meal afterwards on the deck of the new facilities for the approximately one hundred guests that evening.


For details of the program, please contact The Hindu University of America at 407-275-0013 or