Caption: The 20th Chancellor, His Majesty, the King of Tonga, Tupou VI conferred certificates, diplomas and degrees to the graduating students.
The University of the South Pacific held its second 2013 graduation, with 713 graduates at the Laucala Campus, on Friday, 6 September, 2013.
The graduation ceremony was presided over by the titular head of the University, the 20th Chancellor, His Majesty, the King of Tonga, Tupou VI who conferred certificates, diplomas and degrees to the graduating students.
The USP Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council in welcoming everyone to the graduation ceremony, said: “We are honoured today by the presence of our 20th Chancellor, His Majesty, King Tupou VI of Tonga, who was installed at a special graduation ceremony held in July this year”.
He said this graduation has a special significance as it is the first visit of His Majesty to the Laucala Campus and it is indeed a great honour and privilege to have him confer the various awards to the students.
USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra gave a historical insight into the University, and how it has grown over the years. He mentioned how at its very first graduation in 1971, the University’s first Chancellor, His Majesty, King Taufa’ahau Tupou VI (the current Chancellor’s late father) conferred diplomas and degrees to 30 of USP’s very first graduates.
He said since then, USP has had many graduations with an increase in the number of students graduating from its regional campuses. His Majesty, King Tupou VI was installed as the 20th Chancellor at the most recent regional graduation held in Tonga in July this year.
The Vice-Chancellor added that the University feels that this is one of the important ways in which it gets closer to its member countries’ communities, contributing to the development of the Pacific region.
“You can see it has come a long way since the first graduation. Our overall student numbers have grown significantly and this year we have recorded the highest number of students reaching almost 27, 000,” he added.
“From one campus in 1968, we now have 14 campuses,” adding that USP has now graduated almost 40,000 students and the University is looking to expand with more campuses in the near future.
“In the most recent review of the Pacific Plan, the University was identified as the most successful regional institution with a strong reputation for quality, relevance, good governance, and accountability,” he added.
He acknowledged the graduates and shared that the University community was as elated as they were, “for coming so far in their quest for higher education”.
“You may have sacrificed so much and so have members of your family to get you to this point. All students are known for having to wake up at night to complete their assignments on time or to wake up early to attend their 8 o’ clock classes but today all that has resulted in your achievement,” he said.
The USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra congratulated everyone who graduated and added that “individually and collectively, as the ambassadors of the University of the South Pacific, you can make great beneficial and significant impact”.
In his closing address, the Pro-Chancellor thanked and acknowledged the various USP departments for their efforts in making the graduation successful.