Fri | Feb 26, 2021

You are ENOUGH! - UWI valedictorian reminds graduates they are Equipped, Necessary, Occupied with Unique tasks, Grateful and Humble

Published:Friday | January 15, 2021 | 12:16 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Valedictorian Shemara Rhoden, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, with Distinction.
Valedictorian Shemara Rhoden, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, with Distinction.

The 2020 graduating class of The University of the West Indies, Mona, were yesterday lauded for their resilience.

Vice Chancellor Professor Hilary Beckles asserted that students were tested, not only by their professors, but by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They have been resilient, resourceful, and they have risen above all the circumstances that they have encountered. I congratulate you with admiration as I invite the world to join with you today in this grand celebration of your success,” Beckles said.

Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal, Professor Dale Webber, shared that the students demonstrated a tenacity that the university’s leadership viewed with awe.

“You’ve had quite a few hurdles, chief of which would be COVID-19. You had to pivot, you had to now get through that final stretch of your programme, with changes. Adjustments were many, and some of you seriously contemplated whether you would continue or not, but you made it,” he remarked.

Webber charged students, particularly the first-generation tertiary graduates, to pay it forward to those in their families and communities.

During the virtual ceremony for the Faculties of Medical Sciences, Law, and Sport, the university conferred The Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) on Professor E. Albert Reece and Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams.

In his remarks, his excellency said it was a “privilege and an honour” to be recognised by the institution from which he received his professional education.

‘WE SURVIVED’

Williams charged the newly minted graduates to continue to train and equip themselves to occupy positions for which they are not necessarily qualified.

“Seek to specialise in areas of your profession that are not as heavily saturated as others. In my own case, creating a demand for services I offered as a medical practitioner meant transitioning from general practice to training in both aviation and sports medicine,” he explained.

He also encouraged the graduates to learn new skills, which is particularly attainable since online courses are more readily accepted and accessible.

For graduates who may not immediately be employed in their field of study, he appealed to them to develop on-the-job competencies as they seek to transition into their desired careers.

Meanwhile, the valedictorian, Dr Shemara Rhoden, reminded graduates that they are ENOUGH - Equipped, Necessary, Occupied with Unique tasks, Grateful, and Humble, while inspiring others to hunger for success.

She underscored that the last few months, leading up to the completion of their various degrees, were challenging on several fronts.

“The class of 2020 embodies the characteristics of a willow. It was author Robert Jordan who said, ‘The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.’ Boy, did the COVID-19 pandemic bend us, but we survived!” Rhoden remarked.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com