A total of 1680 students of The University of the South Pacific (USP) graduated at the Vodafone Arena in Laucala, Suva on 31 March, 2017, the highest number ever recorded in the history of the University.
Fifty- seven per cent (57%) of the graduands were females.
This year, the graduation was held in two parts, the morning session and the afternoon session.
The first session held in the morning was for graduates of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE), Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) and the Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE).
The Faculty of Business and Economics graduation was the second part of the ceremony which was held in the afternoon.
Professor Derrick Armstrong, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation and International welcomed everyone to the ceremony and extended a special welcome to Honourable Henry Puna, USP’s 23rd Chancellor, the Prime Minister of Cook Islands. HonourablePuna awarded and conferred the academic qualifications.
The graduates were from twenty-four (24) countries, some of which are non-regional including Australia, Belize, Canada, Eritrea, Germany, Guyana, India, Korea, New Zealand, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Saint Lucia, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom.
Professor Armstrong congratulated the graduates saying they had done exceptionally well and made a fantastic achievement at the conclusion of one of the greatest chapters of their lives.
“After today, you will begin a new journey. The knowledge and experience you have gained in your journey at the University these past years will have prepared you well to step into the work environment anywhere in the world,” he told them.
“The essence of excellence is to continue dreaming and working towards success. The world awaits you. You have many successes to achieve through the integrity, good ethics, vision, humility and compassion instilled in you by the University,” he stated.
Professor Armstrong said he hoped they maintained the network with their colleagues, which they have established at the University.
“We also hope that you will stay connected to your alma-mater through the Alumni Network and be involved in University events. You now join over 47, 000 USP alumni worldwide. I wish to see all of you registered as Alumni to continue receiving benefits,” he stated.
Professor Armstrong said they deserved to celebrate as they had all worked hard, sacrificed, and persevered.
“Remember to thank those who have supported you so far, your parents and families, sponsors, lecturers and tutors without whose support, you would not have reached this far,” he advised.
Highlighting the University’s achievements, Professor Armstrong said USP is currently in the fifth year of its current Strategic Plan, which is guiding the University in its quest to become an excellent institution that delivers outstanding results for the Pacific Island region.
“USP’s current enrollment stands at around 27,000, demonstrating the recognition of its qualifications by everyone in the region and by people from outside the region, who choose USP as their University,” he remarked.
Professor Armstrong said the value of the certificates, diplomas and degrees that graduates received has been increasing steadily as the University continues its efforts to improve its quality and reputation through international accreditations of its programmes.
USP has now achieved a total number of eighteen (18) international accreditations and two (2) recognitions, including accreditations for our Bachelor of Engineering programmes from the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ), the Bachelor of Software Engineering and the Bachelor of Net Centric Computing both of which have received its accreditation from The Australian Computer Society.
Pacific TAFE has also achieved accreditations in Hospitality Operations, Early Childhood Education & Care, Community Development, Project Management Practice, and Commercial Cookery.
He mentioned that some of USP’s students had shown remarkable achievement and received wide recognition particularly with the invention of a mobility aid “Eye-cane” for blind and the invention of a ‘Portable Wave-Solar Energy Harvesting Device’, which presents the concept of a low cost wave-solar generation for Pacific Island Countries.
With regards to the 50th Anniversary preparations, Professor Armstrong said 2018 will mark a very important milestone in the history of the University and he invited everyone to be a part of the celebration of its achievements and regionality.
Finally, he acknowledged USP’s member governments, development partners and friends for their continuous support. He also thanked the University Council and its Committees, Senate and Senior Management, staff and students for their support in transforming and reforming USP from a good to an excellent University.