Newly appointed Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Eon Nigel Harris delivered an inspiring speech to the graduating class of 2015, stating that initiative, passion and persistence are ingredients necessary for advancement in whatever field one has chosen.
“Be bold, be daring, be passionate and persistent, this way you will fulfill the promise of the hard work that brought you to this point today,” lamented Harris, adding, “go out and continue to improve your knowledge.”
The Saturday, Nov. 14 sunshine hung over the sprawling Turkeyen Campus grounds where more than 1500 graduates, family, and friends listened as the chancellor called on the graduates to follow in the footsteps of former students who have gone on to distinguished themselves nationally and internationally.
“We should be proud of the contributions this institution has made. I urge you to become familiar with the history of your university and in so doing, gain a better appreciation for the absolute need for you to stay engaged as alumni, mentors to current and future students, lecturers, donors and scholars that will build this institution,” said Harris.
“Obtaining a university education is an extremely valuable acquisition, both for yourself and the society in which you will live. Countless studies have shown that a university education provides graduates with increase lifetime earnings, greater chances of job mobility, greater chances of fulfillment in life, and the capacity to be informed, and to become socially involved citizens.”
Referring to the African proverb that says it takes a village to raise a child each, Harris reminded the graduates that, “each one of you is a product of some village of people who helped and guided you to this point, and even as we acclaim your achievement, I ask that you give them thanks.”
The former vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI), and former dean and Sr. VP for the Academic Affairs at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA, congratulated the students as he reminded them of the benefits — according to studies — of them living longer than others without a university education.
“Children of graduates are less subject to child neglect and abuse, and have a greater intellectual ability, and more likely to pursue a higher education, that would extend to future generations,” he said.
Professor Harris, a current member of the Administrative Board of the International Association of Universities, and former president for the Association of Caribbean Universities and Research Institutes, stated that the university is not in a position to prepare each student for every job available on the market, especially with today’s rapidly developing world.
“The nature of jobs will change many times in the course of a lifetime,” he noted.
Harris expressed concern that Caribbean businesses and government departments often find an absence of desire among employees and their managers to engineer improvement and change in a world that is galloping along with new technology.
“I believe that we need a culture where we should actively seek to solve problems, to make progress easier, and to make customers select our organization, our country, our region over the rest,” he said.
Professor Harris congratulated the graduating class, stating that it was an honor and pleasure to address the first set of graduates since taking office two months ago and thanked the government of Guyana and the Ministry of Education, for placing faith in him.
“I promise to do my very best to advance and promote this institution,” he said.
Students graduated from studies in Earth and Environmental Sciences, Agriculture and Forestry, Education and Humanities, Health Sciences, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Technology, and Institute of Distance and Continuing Education.