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USP Graduates Record Number of students

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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.

A total of 2026 students graduated from The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) first Laucala Graduation over a two-day ceremony from 21 – 22 March 2019.

On 21 March, a total of 1300 students graduated in a two part ceremony; 387 students graduated from the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE), 333 students graduated from the Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) and 580 were awarded certificates and diplomas from the Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE) in the afternoon session.

The third graduation session on 22 March had a total of 726 students graduating from the Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE).

The ceremony was attended by the 25th  Chancellor, His Excellency Taneti Maamau, the President of the Republic of Kiribati and First Lady Mrs Teiraeng Maamau; Honourable Henry Puna, Prime Minister of Cook Islands and the recipient of the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD), and First Lady Mrs Akaiti Puna; Pro- Chancellor and Chair of Council of USP, Mr Winston Thompson and Mrs Queenie Thompson; Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Pal Ahluwalia; 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.

As part of the ceremony, a moment of silence was observed in respect for the victims of the Christchurch attacks in New Zealand.

As part of the ceremonies, a Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) was presented to the Honourable Puna of Cook Islands, His Excellency Sir Frank Kabui of Solomon Islands and Ms Mere Pulea of Fiji; and the Honorary Doctor of Letters was awarded to Mr Ikbal Jannif of Fiji.

In his address, H.E Maamau, the University’s Chancellor said that graduation represents the combination of years of graduates' hard work, sacrifice and passion to reach their ambitions and goals.

Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP (second from left) with some of the graduates after the Laucala Campus graduation.

“Congratulations to all of you. I stand here as your Chancellor, and also as a parent, a family and one of the proud of leaders of the Pacific family,” he said.

“You represent the special symbol of great Pacific minds and capable individuals who will develop and thrive our Pacific to become “a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity, so that all Pacific people can lead free, healthy, and productive lives.” H.E Maamau told the graduates.

“Receiving your degrees today is a testament that your baskets are filled with knowledge and skills in specialised areas of your studies and which you inherit through the proper use of your time and resource,” he added.

This graduation was his last to serve as the Chancellor for USP, to which he stressed that nothing has ever made him prouder than to continuously embrace this rewarding journey of seeing the growing numbers of skilled and qualified people in the region. 

“This gives me the confidence that through an increased investment in research, innovation and critical thinking, we should be able to breed home grown solutions and technology to advance our national, regional and even international solutions and development,” he stressed.

Professor Ahluwalia, in his address to the graduates said that graduation signifies the culmination of several years of hard work on their part and is a celebration of their efforts.

The occasion, he added, presents the graduates with an opportune time to convey their sincerest appreciation to families, friends, employers, colleagues, USP academics, professional staff and mentors who have who played an important role in helping them reach this day.

“While this is a day of celebration, it also represents a point of departure for some of you, from studying at the University to a new stage, where you have the opportunity to make your mark in the community; and the University has endeavoured to instil in you, a body of knowledge and a set of qualities that will prepare you for your future life,” he said.

Professor Ahluwalia told the graduates that graduation is just the beginning of a life-long relationship with their University as members of an international community of USP graduates, and urged them to make use of the University’s Alumni Network and keep in touch as they continue their journey through life.
He highlighted that at the University, staff remain aspirational, energetic and committed to change and success, ensuring an enduring partnership with each of its students. 

“There is little doubt that the knowledge, skills and values that you have developed during your studies here at USP will help you become leaders within your communities well into the future,” he said.

He reminded the graduates that they are on the way to shaping Pacific futures and “creating your own ripples throughout the world.”

“I wish you every success and encourage you to be bold. Make us all proud by creating positive impact and giving back to the communities that have sustained you and enabled you to shape a better future for all of us,” he said.

Of the total number of graduands, sixty per cent (60%) are female and seven (7) students graduated with PhDs.

This news item was published on 22 Mar 2019 03:24:31 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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