President Salutes Perseverance of UG Graduates as Historic Virtual Convocation Ceremonies Kick Off
President Salutes Perseverance of UG Graduates as Historic Virtual Convocation Ceremonies Kick Off
The University of Guyana kicked off its first of four virtual Convocation Ceremonies on Friday March 19, which saw President Irfaan Ali urging graduates to utilize their newly acquired skills to help in the transformation of Guyana into a modern, prosperous and progressive country. In Friday‟s ceremony, a total of 556 students walked the virtual graduation stage - 293 from the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, 51 from the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and 212 from the School of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation (SEBI). Close to 2,500 students are set to graduate from the University‟s Turkeyen, Berbice and IDCE Campuses in a series of virtual graduation ceremonies; in what is regarded as a historic first for the University of Guyana due to the need to adhere to physical distancing and other national Covid-19 guidelines. In his feature address to kick off momentous occasion, President Ali heaped praises on all the proud graduates for persevering amid the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the Head of State; despite the disruptive effects of the pandemic over the past year, students are graduating from the University of Guyana at a time when our country is on its most significant developmental trajectory. As such, it is imperative that they position themselves to take full advantage of the unprecedented growth being realized across various sectors.
“Today‟s Convocation is a testament to our people‟s perseverance in the face of challenges. Throughout our history, our people have demonstrated the tenacity and desire to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. This courage and determination are best exemplified by one of your own, Rajni Persaud, a physically-challenged student who is graduating today with a Diploma in Accountancy. Her grit and determination inspire us all; and reminds us of that famous quotation by Napoleon Hill, who said, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve.” President Ali noted that Guyana is embarking not only on a process which will yield higher levels of growth and human development but which will also require higher levels of education and learning. A key element of the national development agenda, he said, is the entrenchment of a knowledge-based economy, noting that such an economy depends on and demands highly skilled human capital and emphasizes the importance of lifelong learning. In this regard, the President underscored that the University of Guyana has played a critical role in preparing citizens to better craft, participate in, and advance national development. “The University of Guyana continues to be a primary driver in this regard. We must work on enhancing its capacity and role within the national fabric. As such, I strongly support the University‟s efforts to position itself as noted in your Blueprint as, I quote, “a transcendent institution working across all divides and across time to create the best Guyanese graduate, fit for purpose and focused on a positive cohesive future” end quote. The University, therefore, has a key role to play in advancing our efforts to transition to a low carbon economy to maximize the opportunities emerging from our geo-strategic position and towards improved governance, accountability, equity and social cohesion”. According to President Ali, it is in the context that tertiary education must become a vital life force of national development. He noted that tertiary education must add to the demands of the „new economy‟ which requires higher levels of skills, particularly technical skills. He told the graduates: “Guyana needs you, all of you. You will be expected to become key players in our efforts to advance our national development. Education has long been universally acknowledged as a cornerstone of development. The quality of human capital has a strong association with higher national output and increased efficiency.” “Guyana looks to you to be on the forefront of promoting innovation and propelling our country to higher levels of output and attainment. It is vital that we utilize our collective skills and knowledge to improve our quality of life,” the President told the graduates. The Head of State urged the graduates to believe in their abilities and to be seized by that conviction that no matter what challenges they are confronted with, they would prevail if they are focused and determined to achieve success. “It has been a most challenging year for our country, and you students have faced a great deal of setbacks. But you have made it to the finish line. To the University of Guyana‟s class of 2020, I applaud you and extend my heartfelt congratulations on your long-awaited and welldeserved graduation”.
For the 2019/2020 Academic year, the Turkeyen and Berbice graduations are being held as one and the University has chosen two valedictorians – Ms. Deepa Amrita Odit (Turkeyen Campus) and Savitree Budram (Berbice Campus). They have both excelled against all odds in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and have made their families and the entire country proud. Odit, 24, read for a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and earned a GPA of 3.98. While Budram, 36, read for a Bachelor of Education, (Administration-Secondary) and earned a GPA of 4.0. They both received the President‟s Medal from President Ali for the best graduating Bachelor‟s Degree Student at a simple ceremony last Thursday at the State House in Georgetown.
Winners of the Prime Minister Medals
The Prime Minister Medal for the best graduating student in the School of Medicine was awarded to Jonelle Europe. Europe read for a Bachelor of Medicine (Bachelor of Surgery) Degree and earned a GPA of 3.74. The Prime Minster Medal for the best graduating student with the Degree in Public Management went to Ms. Desiree Noble who read for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Management and achieved a GPA of 3.85. In addition to the those who already graduated on Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20, the series of virtual graduation ceremonies continue on Friday March 26 - Faculty of Social Sciences, Saturday and March 27 – Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Education and Humanities (Turkeyen and Berbice Campuses) and Institute for Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE) DEGREE & DIPLOMA PROGRAMMES. The Convocation concludes on Monday, March 29 - Institute for Distance and Continuing Education EXTRA MURAL PROGRAMMES ONLY (Georgetown, Linden, Bartica, Mabaruma, Anna Regina, and Berbice). In addition to a rich cultural programme depicting Guyana‟s cultural diversity, several other high-profile speakers are scheduled to speak at the various ceremonies. The public is invited to view the proceedings at https://www.facebook.com/uniofguyana/. Guyana‟s Minister for Education Priya Manickchand delivered the charge to graduates urging them to utilize their skills to be a catalyst of change and forge new pathways to develop themselves and their communities.
Despite the many challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, this year‟s Convocation is special in many ways as the University is celebrating many firsts; these include:
1) First Female Vice Chancellor at the University of Guyana
2) First Female Vice Chancellor in the English speaking Commonwealth – Caribbean
3) First virtual graduation ceremonies
4) First combined campuses (Turkeyen and Berbice) graduation
5) First double award for the President‟s Medal with one student each from Berbice and Turkeyen campus
6) First Doctorate in Biodiversity (Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry)
7) First Master of Medicine in Diagnostic Radiology (College of Medical Sciences)
8) First Masters in Agro-Technology and Business (Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry
9) First Bachelor‟s in Mathematics – Online (Institute of Distance and Continuing Education)
10) Advance Post Graduate Diploma in Education (Faculty of Education and Humanities)
List of awardees for the 2019/2020 Academic Year:
1) The President‟s Medal: for the best graduating Bachelor‟s Degree student, Deepa Amrita Odit, College of Medical Science, Bachelor of Science (Pharmacy).
2) The Chancellor‟s Medal: for the second best graduating Bachelor‟s degree student, Mahadeo Singh, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Bachelor of Science (Civil with Environmental Engineering).
3) The Prime Minister‟s Medal: for the best graduating student in the school of medicine, Jonnelle Europe, College of Medical Science, Bachelor of Medicine (Bachelor of Surgery)
4) The Prime Minister‟s Medal: for the best graduating student with the Degree in Public Management, Desiree Noble, Faculty of Social Sciences, Bachelor of Science (Public Management).
5) The Pro-Chancellor‟s Medal: for the best graduating law student at the University of Guyana, Shawn Shewram, Faculty of Social Sciences, Bachelor of Law.
6) The Council of the University prize: for the graduating student who has attained at least a „Pass with Credit‟ and has made the greatest contribution in other areas of University activities. Farnaz Baksh, Faculty of Natural sciences, Bachelor of Science (Computer Science).
1) The Award for the Best Graduating Student: for a student who has completed a Bachelor‟s Degree with the highest GPA, Savitree Budram, Faculty of Education and Humanities, Bachelor of education (Administration Secondary)
2) The award for the Second Best Graduating Student: for the student who has completed a bachelor‟s Degree with the second highest GPA, Carlettea Teresa Kursatte, Faculty of Social Sciences, Bachelor of Science (Public Management)
3) The Award for the Best Graduating Student: in the diploma/ certificate/ associate Degree programmes, who has attained the highest GPA, Deborah Tombran, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Associate of Science (Mathematics).
Contact: Jainarine Deonauth, MA Public Relations Unit – 623-5104 Department of Events Conferences and Communications (DECC)
UG IN BRIEF
The University of Guyana is the 58th year state University of Guyana. It offers 136 programmes in over 60 disciplines online and face-to-face in 8 campuses across Guyana. With a student population of now 10,000, UG has provided education, learning and research for over 50,000 alumni. The mission of the University is to discover, generate, disseminate and apply knowledge of the highest standard for the service of the community, the nation and of all mankind within an atmosphere of academic freedom that allows for free and critical inquiry. UG’s forward thinking Blueprint 2040 is currently setting the course for the University’s future design and institutional response to the changing needs of Guyana.
- The University of Guyana