(left): The USP Chancellor, Ulu-o-Tokelau, His Excellency Aliki Faipule Kerisiano Kalolo awards one of the graduates.
(right): Graduates at the Alafua Campus Graduation.
It was a proud moment for 82 students of The University of the South Pacific, who graduated from the Alafua campus in Samoa on 17 January, 2013.
Friends and families flocked in numbers at the Pesega Gymnasium to witness this special occasion, which was attended by ministers and senior public officials from the Samoan Government, members of the USP Council and Senate, dignitaries from the private and public sector, members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of regional and international organizations, senior USP staff, students, and the Alafua Campus community at large as well as other guests.
68 percent of those that graduated were at the undergraduate level while 31 percent were at the postgraduate level. This included students from eight different countries, of which the majority being female graduates.
Speaking at the ceremony, Acting USP Vice-Chancellor, Dr Esther Williams congratulated the graduands on their accomplishments.
“You have all worked hard and now are reaping the benefits. You should all be proud of your achievements and I join your families, your governments, your sponsors in congratulating you,” she said.
The USP Chancellor, Ulu-o-Tokelau, His Excellency Aliki Faipule Kerisiano Kalolo conferred the degrees, and awarded diplomas and certificates.
Graduates were urged to be good ambassadors of the University and to serve their communities and countries well.
“With your certificate, qualifications and your knowledge, I am sure that you are ready to go out and serve your country and community, and the region and also the world. Use wisely the knowledge gained to change the world,” said Dr Williams.
The Acting Vice-Chancellor highlighted some of the major developments at the Alafua campus which included:
· The big increase in EFTS numbers for Alafua campus by 23 percent in 2012 over the same period in 2011;
· Enhanced student support for Alafua including the opening of the KU Band satellite services for the Savaii Centre;
· Enhanced capacity for the School of Agriculture and Food Technology (SAFT) through the appointment of two new lecturers at the senior level and a short-term adviser;
· Two new postgraduate courses in Animal Science are being offered in 2013;
· Efforts to implement 20 agriculture scholarships for Samoan students generously provided by the Government of Samoa;
· Research on taro breeding work continues with efforts to identify salt tolerant varieties of giant swamp taro; and
· The active involvement of the Institute of Research, Extension and Training in Agriculture, based at Alafua in a number of key projects including the review of the livestock industry for Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu and Fiji and the review of food safety and quality assurance in egg production in Samoa.
The new USP Strategic Plan 2013-2018 was approved by the University Council at its last meeting in November 2012. This plan, Dr Williams elaborated, will transform the University into an institution of excellence, and of particular interest to Samoa, it will put a high priority on the development of regional campuses.
She thanked the Government of Samoa for its contributions in shaping this important plan and for the endorsement by Samoa’s Ministry of Finance of the University Grants Committee Triennial Report for 2013-2015.
Among the graduates, this year were students who studied at the Laucala Campus in Fiji, Emalus Campus in Vanuatu, and those that studied through the Distance and Flexible Learning (DFL) mode in Samoa, as well as those who studied agriculture at SAFT in Alafua.
The graduand address was delivered by LLB graduate, Fonoivasa Lolesio Fitai Ah Ching, one of several mature DFL students, also recently retired Vice President of the Lands and Titles Court of Samoa, and who epitomised Dr Williams’ reminder that, “there is no end to learning. Lifelong learning is important and key to our development as Pacific peoples”.
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