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USP hosts second Laucala graduation for 2018

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The 25th Chancellor of USP, His Excellency Taneti Maamau, President of Kiribati, confers an award to a graduate during the Laucala Campus graduation ceremony on 20 September 2018.

A total of 1,321 students will be graduating from The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) second graduation ceremony for 2018 at the National Gymnasium over a two day period from 20-21 September.

On 20 September, a total of 806 students graduated in a two part ceremony with 568 students graduating in the morning ceremony from the Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) and Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE); while 238 students were awarded certificates and diplomas from the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) during the afternoon session.

A total of 515 students from the Faculty of Business and Economics(FBE) will be awarded at the ceremony on 21 September 2018.

The ceremony was attended by the 25th  Chancellor, His Excellency Taneti Maamau, the President of the Republic of Kiribati; Pro- Chancellor and Chair of Council of USP, Mr Winston Thompson and Mrs Queenie Thompson; Honourable Ministers and Senior Officials of the Fijian Government; Members of the Diplomatic Corps; Heads of International and Regional Organisations; Members of Council, Senate and their Committees; Members of the USP Senior Management Team; Graduands, their families and friends; and staff and students.

H.E Maamau, during his address to the graduands expressed his delight and honor to be selected the new 25th Chancellor of USP.

“As alumni of this beloved University, this is truly a manifestation of the success of USP for the last five decades. At this moment, I would like to acknowledge the Chancellors before me, the members of the Council, and staff and students, for making USP recognised as one of the greatest Universities in the Pacific region,” he said.

The Chancellor congratulated the graduates for achieving their degrees, diplomas and certificates from USP and highlighted that they are now one step closer to achieving their dreams and aspirations with a USP qualification.

Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President welcomed H.E. Maamau and thanked him for gracing the occasion, making it a special one for the graduates. He also acknowledged the graduands and their families.

This year, the graduation ceremony is held over two days and in three sessions reflecting a consistent and significant increase in the number of graduates over the years.

Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President, delivers his address during the Laucala graduation ceremony in September.

“We have 1,321 students receiving certificates, diplomas and degrees in this round of graduation at Laucala. This is the highest number for September graduations in Laucala and is 11 per cent more than last year. Since its establishment, the University has issued close to 60, 000 qualifications, testifying to its foundational role in the tertiary education of our member countries and in their development as noted by many leaders and ministers,” Professor Chandra stated.

Of the total number, women make up sixty-four (64) per cent of the graduates while twenty-eight (28) per cent graduated from Pacific TAFE with sub-degree and pathways qualifications, forty-two (42) per cent of students graduated from undergraduate programmes (certificates, Diplomas and Degrees), twenty (20) per cent received postgraduate certificates and diplomas, nine (9) per cent graduated with Master’s Degree, while six (6) students are graduated with PhD.

Students from eighteen (18) countries graduated, including ten (10) non-member countries, testifying to the growing international profile and attraction of USP.

While addressing the graduates, Professor Chandra congratulated them heartily for reaching a milestone.

“The graduate experience and qualifications that you will go away with today will help you increase the chance of lifelong success anywhere in the world. Asyou celebrate your hard work, sacrifice and perseverance, remember to thank those who have supported you in your journey, your parents & families, sponsors, lecturers and tutors without whose support you would not have reached this far,” he said.

On USP’s significant achievements, Professor Chandra highlighted that USP is in the last year of its current Strategic Plan and the University has already achieved 82 percent of what it set out to achieve. The new Strategic Plan for 2019 – 2024 he said, is being finalised with the final draft to be considered and approved at the November Council.

The University he stated continues its quest to improve its quality and reputation through international accreditations of its programmes and it has now achieved 27 international accreditations and 15 international recognitions exceeding the Strategic Plan KPIs.

“In a very significant validation of our quality system, we have now been accredited by the WASC Senior Commission on Universities and Colleges for six years.  This means that USP is now amongst those American institutions that have been rigorously assessed as meeting stringent American standards,” he commented.

“This is a very big boost to our international standing, and will enable our students to study and get jobs more easily in other countries, while helping the University recruit staff more easily and recruit more international students who bring significant income to the University. You all graduating today, therefore, can be proud of your qualifications and confident of their international standing,” he added.

Among some of USP’s achievements and future developments, he highlighted the launching of four apps by FSTE; Pacific TAFE received accreditations for its 20 short courses from Continuing Professional Development UK; and the number of undergraduate programmes offered in flexible mode is 36, which is more than 60 per cent of the undergraduate programmes offered while 14 programmes or 30 per cent are fully online. By 2020, a total of 27 undergraduate programmes are targeted to be provided in the online mode.

Graduates during the second USP Laucala graduation ceremony.

On the 50th anniversary celebrations, Professor Chandra confirmed that more than 30 of the planned 50 events have been held so far while the rest of the events would follow in the coming weeks and will be celebrated until the end of this year.

Professor Chandra added that since this will be his final graduation after almost 39 years of service to USP, he was privileged to lead the University for the last decade and to have led the development of three strategic plans of the total of only five that the University has ever had.

“This decade has been one of real transformation of the University into an internationally recognised and respected institution embedded strongly in the needs and aspirations of our member countries, and delivering exceptional value to our stakeholders,” he noted.

Professor Chandra acknowledged the Government and people of Fiji and the other member countries and the people of the Pacific for their support.

Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra's FSTE and Pacific TAFE graduation speech

Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra's FALE graduation speech

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This news item was published on 20 Sep 2018 03:37:34 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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