Office of the Vice-Chancellor

Office of the Vice-Chancellor

Speech on the occasion of the USP Medals and Prizes Awards

Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture, and Pacific Studies,

Professor Rajesh Chandra

The Deputy Chair of Council, Mr. Ikbal Jannif; the Chair of the Finance and Investments Committee, Ms Fay Yee; the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and members of the Senior Management Team; sponsors of medals and prizes; the Registrar, Mr. Walter Fraser; recipients of medals and prizes and their parents, friends and families; ladies and gentlemen.

I would like to add my own welcome to all of you to this  Medals and Prizes Awards Ceremony. I would like to particularly welcome the recipients and sponsors of medals and prizes. Thank you all for joining us in honouring our outstanding students.

Academic excellence is the cornerstone of any good university. We also have aspirations of being a University of Excellence. This calls for our staff and students striving for the very best.

We are pleased that there are students at the University who are willing to strive for the best, rather than settle for average performances. Indeed, the students that we are honoring tonight have not accepted to be second best. These students, along with many who have graduated before, are able to hold their own in any university in terms of further study. Many of our alumni have done extremely well and you should actually aspire to do better than those who went before you.

I congratulate you all for your achievements. We want to thank you for bringing credit to the University. We invite you to pursue your studies and work so that you can fully exploit your  outstanding academic achievements.

I also congratulate your parents, spouses and families that have given you such a strong foundation to excel. You all can feel proud of your achievements.

In our new draft strategic plan, there is renewed emphasis on academic excellence among both students and staff. We hope that in future we will have even higher levels of achievement than we have presently.

The winning of these Gold medals and prizes also places a special responsibility on all of you to go on and make the same kind of outstanding contribution in your lives that you have made in your studies. You will find that being bright is not the only ingredient of success in life, however. To have outstanding success in life, you will need to have high ethical standards; be able to work in teams; solve unexpected problems; work extremely hard and smartly; have the drive to excel; and be a life-long learner.

Being able to relate to people is especially important. Many very smart people do not do as well in life as those who might be moderately smart, but have excellent people skills. If you are bright, as you all are, and can develop outstanding people skills, then obviously you can achieve a great deal in life.

The medals and awards also cover research by staff and students. Let me say that the University is putting a strong emphasis on improving our graduate enrolment and research output. This year, we have doubled our research funding and prioritized the development of systems and processes to increase our research profile significantly in the future. We are also pleased that postgraduate enrolment has increased by 8 percent this year.

Our sponsors help the University to recognize and reward academic excellence in tangible ways, and I would like to thank all the sponsors today. There are too many sponsors to mention individually, but I want to reassure you that we value your sponsorship, and hope that you will continue to support your university. Indeed, I would like to invite all of you, and the corporate sector generally, to find ways of becoming stronger partners of the University. We believe that this partnership will be mutually beneficial, and is needed to ensure that the University provides the kinds and quality of human resources, research and consultancies that assist business development in all our member countries.

Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to congratulate the recipients of medals and prizes once again, and thank all of you for coming to honour our outstanding students.

Vinaka Vakalevu

Tuesday 7 April 2009

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