Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Sunday said that his father had spent the equivalent of a year’s salary on his plane ticket to the US so that he could attend Stanford University.
While speaking as a part of the virtual graduation programme ‘Dear Class of 2020’ that has been streamed on YouTube, Pichai inspired the students by narrating an account of the challenges he had faced when he left India to pursue his higher studies in America.
He also said that he had undertaken a flight journey for the first time when he came to study at Stanford.
“When I eventually landed in California, things were not as I had imagined. America was expensive. A phone call back home was more than $2 a minute, and a backpack cost the same as my dad”s monthly salary in India,” he recounted.
He said that when he first touched down in the state of California, he could hardly see the changes that were coming.
“The only thing that got me from here to there – other than luck – was a deep passion for technology, and an open mind,” he added.
He also asked the students to be open, hopeful and “impatient”, and exuded confidence that they have a “chance to change everything”.
“Be open, be impatient, be hopeful. If you can do that, history will remember the Class of 2020 not for what you lost, but for what you changed. You have the chance to change everything. I am optimistic you will,” he added.
“There are probably things about technology that frustrate you and make you impatient,” Pichai said in his speech on Sunday.
“Don’t lose that impatience. It will create the next technology revolution and enable you to build things my generation could never dream of.
“You may be just as frustrated by my generation’s approach to climate change, or education. Be impatient. It will create the progress the world needs,” he said.
He also gave examples of the times when students had graduated in the face of a severe crisis.
“The reason I know you will prevail is that so many others have done it before you. 100 years ago- class of 1920 graduated in the deadly pandemic. 50 years ago- class of 1970 graduated in the midst of the Vietnam War and nearly 20 years ago -class of 2001 graduated just months before 9/11, “he added
Others who addressed the students in the virtual ceremony included former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, singer Lady Gaga, and education activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai.