Professor Rajesh Chandra, USP Vice-Chancellor and President.
With classes for semester 1, 2018 at The University of the South Pacific (USP) starting this week, Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President extended a warm welcome to all USP students saying 2018 marks USP’s 50th year of service to the Pacific Islands.
He told new students that they are now part of the USP community- whether this is the start of their studies or whether they have been with USP for few semesters or academic years, they would be a valued part of the University’s celebrations in this very special Golden Jubilee Year.
“Some of your parents or grandparents might have been part of our first class, which graduated in 1971. The establishment of a university for the Pacific Islands was incredibly exciting news. That generation had been brought up to think about going abroad to study, or simply did not even consider, for social or economic reasons, that tertiary studies were a possibility,” he said.
“Thankfully, times have changed and USP has made it possible for more Pacific Islanders to access its high-quality educational offerings, online or at one of its 14 campuses in 12 Pacific Island Member Countries,” he noted.
Professor Chandra said USP today is very different to the small university that was set up 50 years ago as it has grown and developed from strength to strength.
“I doubt that anyone 50 years ago would have predicted that USP would become the success that it is today, with over 30,000 students, with many accredited academic programmes, world-class research outputs, and a unique Pacific character,” he mentioned.
Professor Chandra informed students that this year, USP will be celebrating five decades of achievements for the Pacific Islands.
He added that every community in the region has benefited from USP; either from the work of its graduates, its research projects, its work on education or the policy advice that has helped member Governments provide services and manage development.
USP, he said, is a significant player in the Pacific Islands, and takes very seriously its role as the region’s university, research hub, and development organisation.
He added that USP exists for the Pacific Islands and is determined to deliver results that are consistent with its Member Countries’ priorities, one of which is to deliver well-qualified graduates, ready to join the work force.
“As a current student, you are USP’s priority. This University will provide the teaching and the support required to ensure your success,” he noted.
Professor Chandra urged that as they commenced classes and research this academic year, they set both short and long term goals for themselves to keep them on track.
“Your academic advisors and Student Administrative Services will help you to map out your academic plan and will advise you on the importance of matters such as budgeting and work-life balance. Here at USP, we have so many extracurricular offerings that you will really be missing out if you do not participate in groups and activities,” he said.
Professor Chandra also implored students to think about building practical work experience into their university plans saying that having an internship on their CVs will distinguish them from other job seekers.
He also urged students to make use of USP’s diversity and make a concerted effort to develop friendships with students from other countries and cultural backgrounds.
“With the 50th Anniversary celebrations going on, numerous extracurricular activities available, many new friends to be made, and your long-term and career goals in mind, you might fear that it will be difficult to focus on your studies.
“Focus is incredibly important, as it is only when you delve deep into a subject that new ideas will spring to mind and new insights will be gained,” he added.
“I wish all the new students the very best in the new academic year.”
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