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USP graduates final cohort for 2019

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FBE graduates were among the last cohort to graduate in the September graduation.

Five hundred and ninety-five (595) students graduated from The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Faculty of Business & Economics (FBE) at the FMF Gymnasium on 20 September 2019.

This was the last cohort to graduate this year for the September graduation. On 19 September, 258 students graduated from the Faculty of Arts, Law & Education (FALE); 202 from the Faculty of Science, Technology & Environment (FSTE) and 680 from the Pacific Technical & Further Education, a total of 1735 graduands, one of the highest recorded by USP.

The Chancellor, Her Excellency the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Dr Hilda Heine conferred the certificates, diplomas and degrees.

H.E Dr Heine was installed as the 26th Chancellor of USP by Mr Winston Thompson, the Pro-Chancellor and Chair of USP Council, at the first session on 19 September. She has been appointed to serve in the role from 1 July 2019 for a term of one year. The Chancellor is the titular head of USP, who confers the qualifications of the University. H.E Dr Heine succeeds the outgoing Chancellor, His Excellency Taneti Maamau, President of the Republic of Kiribati.

In her remarks, H.E Dr Heine said she was pleased to commence her short term of service as Chancellor of USP.

“I am very conscious that I am following in the footsteps of many distinguished leaders from 12-member countries of USP, including the first Chancellor from the Marshall Islands, Iroojlaplap Amata Kabua,” she said.

She said that as a national leader, she had a unique sense of belonging when she realised that she is a stakeholder, a co- owner, in this great enterprise, in this great partnership.

The President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and USP Chancellor, Dr Hilda Heine.

“USP - envisioned by the leaders of our region, patiently fostered and nurtured by successive Pacific Island governments, and converted by USP leadership and dedicated professionals from a mere idea to a constructive and living institution that we have today,” she said.

H.E Dr Heine offered her heartiest congratulations to the graduands for their achievements and reminded them that their awards will mean nothing if they forget who they are.

“It will have no meaning if you ever forget that you have come from the bosom of caring and loving families. That you have been reared in the midst of communities that fed you with a strong dose of cultural values, and traditions concerned with the livelihood and the prosperity of your neighbour,” she added.

Mr Winston Thompson, the Pro-Chancellor and Chair of USP Council said this graduation ceremony was a special and historic one because of the installation of the University’s 26th Chancellor, H.E Hilda C. Heine, the President of the Republic of Marshall Islands, as the first female Chancellor of USP.

Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor & President of USP welcomed the graduates, staff and family and friends. He also mentioned a special acknowledgement to H.E Dr Hilda Heine, the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Chancellor of USP.

In attendance were Mr Winston Thompson, the Pro-Chancellor and Chair of USP Council and Mrs Queenie Thompson; Honourable Ministers and Senior Officials of the Fijian Government; Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Members of the Diplomatic Corps; Heads of Regional and International Organisations; Members of Council, Senate and their Committees; and Members of the University Senior Management Team.

“A very warm welcome also to all our graduands. I am delighted that so many of you have joined us today and it is a great honour to welcome such a diverse community including those who have travelled far from their island homes,” he stated.

Professor Ahluwalia said he was pleased to announce that of the overall 1735 graduands, sixty-five percent (65%) were females, an increase of five percent (5%) compared to the last graduation held earlier in March this year.

“This morning’s graduation ceremony is for the 595 graduates from the FBE. Since yesterday’s graduation ceremonies for our FSTE, FALE and Pacific TAFE, a total of 1140 graduands have received their certificates. I am proud to mention that we have 113 Masters degree graduands overall of which 80 are from FBE,” he said.

These he said, are significant numbers and testimony to the quality and excellence that is prevalent within our University.

Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor & President of USP.

To the graduands, Professor Ahluwalia offered his congratulations saying that what they had achieved in completing a degree is a significant accomplishment and that regardless of their chosen field of study, graduation signifies the culmination of several years of hard work on their part.

“Today is a celebration of your efforts, and also offers a time for us to thank the academic and professional staff who have been absolutely committed to helping you to achieve your learning goals. Thanks must go to the family and friends, employers, colleagues and mentors who have also played an important role in the success of each graduand.  You can all be justly proud of your efforts,” he said.

“While this is a day of celebration, it also represents a point of departure for some of you, from studying at USP to a new stage, where you have the opportunity to make your mark in the community.

“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. However, the true value of your education lies in how you use this knowledge for the greater good of your communities, your countries and the Pacific region,” he said.

Professor Ahluwalia said that their life-long relationship with USP continues today, just as it started the first day they entered one of USP’s 14 Campuses.

He reminded them that they are members of an international community of USP graduates and urged them to make use of USP’s Alumni Network and keep in touch as they continue journeying through life.

“Continue to live by the values of your University in all that you do – embody excellence, embrace innovation, uphold the highest ethical standards and operate with integrity; be respectful, and celebrate diversity. In all that you do, never settle for second best,” he added.

The Pacific, he said, is plagued with great insecurities as a result of climate change that challenges our livelihoods and for some of us, our sovereignty.

“Equally, the Pacific already has demonstrated to the world its innovative nature and capacity for resilience,” he said.

Graduands were also challenged to take the best of their insights, experiences and knowledge, and turn them into actions to improve people’s lives and prospects.

Vice-Chancellor & President's speech at the FBE Graduation

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This news item was published on 20 Sep 2019 03:40:57 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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