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USP awards high achievers

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Pro-Chancellor and Chair of USP Council, Mr Winston Thompson, USP Chancellor and Prime Minister of Cook Islands, Honourable Henry Puna and Professor Derrick Armstrong, USP’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation and International (centre) with the awardees.

Forty-eight (48) top achievers were awarded at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) 2017 Medals and Prizes ceremony on 29 March at the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre at the Laucala Campus in Suva.

The awards ceremony was attended by the USP Chancellor and Prime Minister of Cook Islands, Honourable Henry Puna; Pro-Chancellor and Chair of USP Council, Mr Winston Thompson and Mrs Queenie Thompson; Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Members of Council, Senate, FIC and ARC; Senior Management Team, Sponsors, Medals and Prizes recipients, Members of the Media and Families and Friends.

Professor Derrick Armstrong, USP’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation and International said the ceremony is a very special one because of the record number of categories (49) and high achievers this year.  

Amongst the awardees, twenty-seven (27) students were sponsored under various scholarship schemes such as the National Toppers Scheme, Tertiary Education and Loan Scheme (TELS), Consortium Partnership Agreement, Solomon Islands Government scholarship, Vanuatu Government scholarship, USP’s Office of Research and Graduate Affairs scholarship, Australian third country award, New Zealand third country award, Forum Fisheries Agency scholarship, Fiji’s Public Service Commission scholarship and the Department of Multi-Ethnic Affairs Scholarship.

“No doubt, this is a proud moment for all these scholarship providers to see your sponsored students excel in their chosen field of study. Two staff of the University, who were fully sponsored by USP are also amongst the top achievers,” Professor Armstrong said.

Apart from USP’s Fiji awardees, there are three (3) students from Solomon Islands, four (4) students from Samoa, two (2) students from Tonga, one (1) from Vanuatu, and one (1) student each from international non-member countries of Australia, Papua New Guinea, Guyana, Germany, and the United Kingdom present amongst the University’s top achievers.

Professor Armstrong said this shows the passion for excellence from our regional and international students.

“The University prides itself on not only being a platform for secondary school achievers but is also an enabling environment for our mid-career entrants and I would like to pay special tribute to these mature entrants present here tonight, who have had the courage and ambition to pursue higher education,” he remarked.

In congratulating the awardees he stated, “Tonight we honour a very special group of young, talented and extremely promising future leaders. These elites have excelled and proven that there are brilliant and talented students in our Pacific region, who have the ability and the drive to compete against any other student, anywhere in the world”.

These awards he said, are a small tribute to honoring their hard work, dedication and accomplishments in their respective fields of study.

“Each one of you here tonight has been chosen purely on merit. You all make excellent ambassadors of this University.  The road to excellence requires hard work, dedication, focus, ambition, commitment and countless sacrifices. It is not an easy path. Our young achievers have shown us that anything is possible if one has the right mindset, attitude and inspiration to achieve,” he said.

Professor Armstrong also took the opportunity to congratulate the award recipient’s parents, guardians, spouses, families and friends, who he said had given them such a strong foundation to excel.

“This is a proud occasion for them as well. The award that you will receive today signifies not only your achievements, but is also a reward for those that have stood by you in your path to success,” he said.

Academic excellence, Professor Armstrong said, is the cornerstone of any good university and there is a lot to be proud of.

USP Chancellor and Prime Minister of Cook Islands, Honourable Henry Puna gives the award to Kamniyata Kaajal, female graduate with the best combined academic performance and record of service to the community.

“Today we have an institution that is markedly more flexible, resilient, and innovative than ever before. The University has been a leader in tertiary education in the region through the quality of its programmes, which are accredited to international standards,” he said.

“Accreditation is what differentiates us most from other tertiary and higher education providers in the region. This is why employers value us and the reason we are the first choice for students, parents and governments,” Professor Armstrong noted.

USP currently has a total of eighteen (18) programmes internationally accredited and 4 recognised.  

The University, he said, continues to make progress with its plan for WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) accreditation, receiving formal communication in January 2016 indicating that USP had met all 16 Eligibility Criteria at a sufficient level to receive Eligibility status.

“This year, we are now moving towards Seeking Accreditation Visit 1 (SAV 1). These accreditations will further demonstrate that our programmes are comparable to those universities in Australia, New Zealand and beyond,” he added.

Touching on the 50th Anniversary in 2018, Professor Armstrong invited everyone to join USP in celebrating its success over the past 50 years “while looking towards the future of a sustainable University from the Pacific people, for the Pacific people”.

A total of 1,680 students will be graduating on Friday, 31 March in a two-part ceremony, the highest number of graduates in the history of USP graduations.

This news item was published on 29 Mar 2017 07:18:43 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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