Samoa Graduation: A Celebration of Students’ Achievements


Euphoria and joy filled every corner of the Graduation Hall in Samoa as family, friends, and relatives gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of 99 students who received their qualifications at The University of the South Pacific (USP) graduation on Friday, May 31.

This graduation marks a significant milestone in the lives of these students, symbolizing the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Despite numerous challenges, they pursued their studies with unwavering determination, all in the hope of a better tomorrow.

Victoria Petelo, who graduated with her Master of Business Administration, reflected on her journey, saying she initially questioned herself and her abilities when she began her MBA studies. However, she expressed deep gratitude to her family for their continuous support, which pushed her to excel and chase her dream.

“The MBA program at USP went far beyond enhancing my skills. It demanded a comprehensive understanding of various business disciplines, and now I am better equipped to address current challenges and seek new opportunities,” she shared.

She added, “The support of a diverse and exceptional group of professors from Australia, Fiji and Samoa was invaluable, coupled with a cohort that valued sharing opinions and knowledge”.

The 2024 Samoa graduation also highlighted the remarkable achievements of Pacific women, who comprised 66 per cent of the graduates. The university is confident that many of these women will play key leadership roles in their country, both now and in the future.

USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, addressed the graduates, saying, “This is a celebration of your efforts and also a time for us to thank the academic and professional staff who have lectured you, tutored you, encouraged and supported you, and given you the building blocks to face the world beyond the university campus.”

He continued, “Today, you join the ranks of our alumni. As much as our students are the heart of the University, our alumni are equally our pride and joy, as they are our best ambassadors in various leadership positions in this country, the region, and the world.”

Professor Ahluwalia also emphasised the importance of USP graduates as advocates and innovators. Their contributions are vital in addressing significant issues, such as the region’s climate change crisis.

The graduation ceremony also celebrated the hard work of 22 students who earned their Master’s degrees, 16 who received their Postgraduate Diplomas, 27 who were awarded Certificates, Diplomas, and Degrees, and 31 who achieved their Pacific TAFE qualifications.

Additionally, 15 students were recognised for their outstanding performance and received special awards during the ceremony.

One such student, Jeff Aru Revo, a ni-Vanuatu studying in Samoa, was emotional when he received the USP Gold Medal for the most outstanding student in Agriculture.

The proud 25-year-old’s hard work was further acknowledged as he also received the Telefoni Retzlaff Memorial Prize for the Top Animal Husbandry Student.

“I am happy that I graduated today, but at the same time, I am sad because my family isn’t here to share the joy with me,” he said.

Despite not having his family present during graduation, Revo is excited to return home and help his family and community using the knowledge and skills gained from his years of study in Samoa.

In closing, the USP Vice-Chancellor encouraged graduates to pursue purpose-driven goals, equipped with new knowledge and skills to seize opportunities and find solutions to positively impact the world.

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