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Record number of students graduate from USP

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USP Pro-Chancellor Mr Winston Thompson conferred a USP student with her degree during the first Laucala Graduation ceremony for this year on March 23, 2016.

A record number of students have graduated from The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) first Laucala graduation ceremony on 23 March 2016 at the Vodafone Arena in Suva.

The Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University Council, Mr Winston Thomson, conferred the degrees diplomas and certificates to 1606 graduates from 20 nationalities.

Fifty five per cent of the total graduates in this ceremony were females, an increase of one per cent from 2015. Five students graduated with PhDs and 243 students graduated from Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE).

Vice Chancellor and President Professor Rajesh Chandra, while congratulating the graduates, said the graduates can become good ambassadors for the University through their strong, innovative, ethical and excellent contributions to society.

“You can become good ambassadors of the University and be role models in your respective countries and importantly live and promote a sense of high integrity and moral values,” he said.

Professor Chandra said that 2016 marks the beginning of a new triennium in the USP Strategic Plan (2013 – 2018).

“USP will continue to increase its efforts towards the vision of excellence by strengthening the Strategic Plan (2013-2018) via continuous monitoring and evaluation to produce the results promised to its leaders, development partners, students and staff,” Professor Chandra said.

While highlighting some of the significant achievements of the University, the Vice-Chancellor noted that USP has been granted eligibility from the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). 

He added that USP’s Pacific TAFE has received full international accreditation from the International Centre of Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality Education (THE-ICE) for its Certificate III in Commercial Cookery qualification and the Fiji Higher Education Commission (FHEC) has given full accreditation to eight of Pacific TAFE qualifications under the Fiji Qualifications Framework.

Professor Chandra further highlighted that enrolments at USP continue to grow, indicating the continued confidence in the quality of the University’s programmes.

“Our current enrolment stands at around 25, 581 students which is an increase of five per cent compared to the same period last year,” he stated.

Graduate speaker, Epeli Vualili, who is also amongst the seven students with disabilities to graduate in this ceremony, thanked the USP staff and senior management team (SMT) for providing students with many platforms to achieve their dreams and aspirations.

Part of the graduation crowd at the Vodafone Arena.

“USP has several tailor-made support mechanisms and services that will enable anyone achieve his or her dream regardless of age, gender, academic background, health condition, socio-economic status or other barriers,” Vualili said.

“All of us here today are proof of the excellent support that has been provided by USP academic staff and support services.”

Vualili, who graduated with a Diploma in IT, made special acknowledgement to USP’s Disability Resource Centre for the interpreters and buddies who supported students living with disabilities throughout their study duration at the university.

“I would like to personally thank Pacific TAFE, USP ICT Section and the USP-SPC Internship Programme for the valuable opportunities given to students with disabilities,” he added.

Vualili has urged potential employers to open their doors for work and internship opportunities for all USP graduates.

I urge all CROP agencies, NGOs, UN Agencies, Corporate Bodies and other stakeholders to open your doors and work with USP to implement work placement and internship programmes,” Vualili stated.

“USP graduates are definitely valuable assets in this world of change, inclusivity and progress,” he added.

Read VC's graduation speech

Graduate Speech by Epeli Vualili

Graduation Picture Gallery

This news item was published on 23 Mar 2016 01:44:47 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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