USP Alafua Campus alumni during the parade.
Hundreds of staff, students and alumni of The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Alafua Campus in Samoa participated in an early morning parade on 12 June 2018 to kick start USP’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations in the heart of Apia.
The parade from the Fire Station to the front of the Government Building was a way for staff, students and the alumni to salute USP as one of the key drivers of the progressive changes in their lives.
It was also a way for members of the alumni to catch up with ‘classmates’ and ‘buddies’ from their university days.
A major highlight of the parade was the huge turnout by the members of the USP Samoa Alumni Association, most of who are currently holding key positions in government ministries, private sector, religion, and in Non-Government Organisations (NGOs).
The alumni were organised and paraded in decades, with the earliest decade (1968—1978) proudly leading the parade, and each decade boasting its own uniform which made the parade even more spectacular.
In front of the Government Building, a short invocation offered by Reverend Denny Epati preceded the welcome remarks by Mr Winston Thompson, USP Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council, and a keynote by Honourable Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa.
In his remarks, Mr Thompson extended a warm welcome to the distinguished guests and participants of the parade.
He also expressed sincere gratitude to the Samoan Government through the Prime Minister, for the unrelenting support given to USP over the years.
In light of the fact that USP was established to educate the locals to take up leadership roles vacated by the colonial powers, Mr Thompson praised Samoa for setting a precedent in the 60’s.
“It’s only fitting that Samoa is the first country to celebrate the University’s 50th Anniversary. Samoa was the first country to declare independence from its colonial masters, so it was a trailblazer in that area,” Mr Thompson remarked.
In his keynote address, Honourable Malielegaoi highlighted the key milestones of the 5-decade history of USP.
These included registrations which have skyrocketed from a mere 200 in 1968 to over 30,000 in 2018 and graduate numbers have also taken a huge leap from just forty nine (49) in 1971 to around 50,000 by November 2017.
Other improvements in terms of ICT infrastructure, learning and teaching practices, research rigour and publications, and improvements at campus level were also highlighted by Honourable Malielegaoi.
He specifically focused on the Alafua Campus and the origins of the School of Agriculture and Food Technology (SAFT), and how this has evolved over the years and its crucial role in solving Pacific priorities, especially those surrounding poverty issues and food security.
In closing, the Prime Minister wished the University well on its 50th Anniversary, before cutting the Jubilee Cake and declaring the Alafua Campus Golden Jubilee celebrations officially open.
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