After two years, The University of the South Pacific (USP) returned to hosting face to face graduation ceremonies honouring 2,614 students, the most significant number of students to graduate from the University, of which 61 per cent are women.
The graduation ceremonies are taking place in a span of two days, beginning today at the FMF Gymnasium at Laucala Bay, Suva.
Of the 2,614 students, 1,252 students have earned undergraduate certificates, diplomas and bachelor’s degrees, 504 post-graduate certificates and diplomas, 193 earned master’s degrees (course work & thesis), and two earned doctoral degrees. Encouragingly, this year’s postgraduate awards have almost doubled from 397 last year to 699 this year.
Seventy-one (71) students will receive two (2) awards and they are counted once under their highest award.
1,325 students from the School of Information Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Physics (STEMP), School of Business and Management (SBM), School of Agriculture, Geography, Environment, Ocean and Natural Sciences (SAGEONS), School of Pacific Arts, Communication and Education (SPACE) and Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD) graduated today.
Another 1,289 students will graduate from the School of Accounting, Finance and Economics (SAFE), School of Law and Social Sciences (SoLaSS) and the Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE) tomorrow.
A total of 47 students will be awarded gold medals during the two-day graduation ceremony.
Students from twenty (20) countries are amongst the graduates, of which 10 are non-member countries.
USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Pal Ahluwalia said, “Although COVID-19 is a deterrent to students completing their studies on time, these numbers signify that there is a strong desire to further education and USP will continue to ensure that the quality and excellence that is prevalent within our University is maintained and we are absolutely committed to supporting students completion”.
In congratulating the graduates, Professor Ahluwalia reiterated that regardless of a graduate’s chosen field of study, congratulations were owed to all as graduation signifies the finale of several years of hard toil amidst global unprecedented challenges on their part.
“As students, you have also forgone many of the conventional University experiences of your final years as national lockdowns closed campuses and learning facilities, moving your learning experience to a predominately digital platform,” he said.
“Your patience and perseverance as students are nothing short of being worthy of praise, as we journey through the post-COVID-19 pandemic years.”
“And I want to recognise your commitment, resilience, and perseverance in responding to the pandemic. It has been nothing, as I have said earlier, short of being inspirational,” Professor Ahluwalia added.
He also thanked the academic and professional staff of USP for their commitment to helping the graduates achieve their learning goals.
Professor Ahluwalia also acknowledged family members, friends, employers, colleagues and mentors who have played an essential role in the success of each graduand.
“You can all be impartially proud of your efforts towards these amazing individuals’ achievements,” he added.
He shared the accomplishments of USP from 2021 and into 2022, highlighting the University’s global rankings never before achieved in the University’s history.
“The first being the World University Real Impact Ranking, where we ranked 11th in the area of Crisis Management. But I think the holy grail for us was when we celebrated our entry into the highly acclaimed and prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) global ranking system ranking us amongst the top 10% of universities in the world,” Professor Ahluwalia said.
“So, for many of you, when you came into the University, USP was not ranked and this ranking means that your degree has already gained more value than you would have ever had. And for our alumni, this is such a great outcome,” he added.
The second day of the USP graduation ceremonies continues at the FMF Gymnasium tomorrow Friday, 13 May 2022.