Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 5th 2017 Contents 8 UWI TODAY -- SUNDAY 5 NOVEMBER, 2017
and felt that my leave of absence was to no avail. I did not
help her; I did not save her." She pulled herself together.
She did not to give up.
Dahryn is from Dominica and cannot be with us
today as she has been dealt another blow, but we can be
certain that she has the strength to rise to the challenge.
She is an inspiration!
We must become more assured of ourselves and not
be afraid of change. We are a talented people but our past
too o en follows us to our detriment. ere is strength in
knowing where you have come from, but we cannot allow
ourselves to be paralyzed by our historical circumstance.
We all came to these islands under di erent conditions.
We are no longer who our forefathers were; we are what we
make of ourselves.
I've been told that the graduation ceremonies at the St.
Augustine Campus have been growing steadily over the
last decade. In the academic year that just ended, 18,327
students were enrolled, but there is something else that
caught my eye.
Trinidad and Tobago is well known as a place of
many cultures. It is a meeting place of nations, and the St.
Augustine Campus re ects this.
Here we are, rounding o the southern tip of the chain
of islands, and we manage to attract 562 students from
countries that are not part of the contributing territories. In
fact, those 562 students come from 55 di erent countries!
It is no wonder that this campus and this country are so
rich in diversity.
You are leaving here today with a higher degree of
appreciation of the diverse cultures that surround you; it
will stand you in good stead.
As this phase of your life comes to a close, so does
another begin, this is the natural course of things. You are
now about to set o on the greatest of adventures -- your
life! What you make of this adventure is entirely in your
hands. You will only be limited by your ambition. I advise
you to aim for the stars -- nothing else will do! e only
regrets you are likely to have in life are not the things you
did, but the things that you failed to do.
You are now independent. You have the tools to make
your way in the world. For many, this will be the time when
you begin rearranging the strands of your life. You may be
leaving home, nding a job, asserting your independence.
You have been described as millennials; as having
a sense of entitlement, as not having discipline, as being
self-absorbed. I know better. You su er from a wonderful
a iction, it is called youth. You will prove your critics
wrong; you will be the best of generations.
You have now completed this phase of your formal
education and will soon have that piece of paper for which
you have toiled so hard. e piece of paper is of little
consequence; what is of immense value is the education
which you have obtained from attending university. e
ability to think critically, to learn, is of far greater value than
any material possession, as it is an asset which can never be
lost or taken from you. It should be the foundation upon
which you will build your life.
Do not allow anyone to ever tell you that you can't
achieve your ambition, or to discourage you from your
dreams. Walk away from that advice. Believe in yourself.
Go follow your dreams!
ere will always be obstacles in your life, but you can
e story of a young woman who is graduating this
year with First Class Honors, Dahryn Augustine is a
compelling example. At the beginning of her nal year
at the Faculty of Science and Technology, her sister was
diagnosed with cancer, Dahryn dropped everything to be
with her. Sadly, one year later she passed away. Dahryn
was so devastated that she considered not completing her
degree. In her words:
"Despair, disappointment and sadness had lled my
heart, and I no longer wanted to continue. I was confused
You are about to enter an exciting world, full of
possibilities; a place where you can make your dreams come
true. To be successful you have to be curious, innovative,
analytical, to communicate well, be a team player and most
importantly, you must have strong ethical values.
To be successful you have to be curious, innovative,
analytical; you have to communicate well, be a team player
and most importantly, you must have strong ethical values.
Always de ne yourselves by the substance of your
character. As an educated West Indian you hold a
responsibility to your community to provide assistance
to those who have been less fortunate. I would like to
encourage each of you to mentor a young person who
without your help might fail. at way you will make our
communities stronger and our societies better.
As the poet has said, " e greatness of a person is not
in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and
his ability to a ect those around him positively."
I would like to see a renewed sense of civic
responsibility. Our geography, our history, our size, our
culture and our economies give us reasons to consider
each other as family.
is University, spread as it is across the region,
represents all of our commonalities and all of our
di erences. You are now part of the UWI family, use it to
Your graduation is a time to rejoice, to celebrate
your success with your family and friends. It represents a
crossroad in your lives, and the lives of your parents, your
guardians and all those who have played a part in getting
you to this point.
ose who supported you on this journey have much
to be proud of today, this is as much their success as it is
yours; never underestimate the huge contribution that
your family and friends make to your success.
We should re ect for a moment on the damage that
has been done to our sister islands as a consequence of
Hurricanes Irma and Maria, along with the massive
ooding in Trinidad. It reminds us of how susceptible we
are to climate change and natural disasters.
e responses to these crises have reassured us that we
are a caring people.
In Grenada, a er the graduation ceremony for the
Open Campus, I was asked to sign a graduation booklet
for Tessa Flavien, a St. Lucian graduate who did not attend
the ceremony. Tessa, who graduated with a BSc in Social
Sciences, First Class Honors, donated the money she had
set aside to come to her graduation to the relief e ort in
Dominica. Tessa has set an example for all of us, of sel ess
leadership, and we all congratulate her today!
We know the rebuilding process will be long and hard,
but acts like these keep us strong.
You are inheriting the problems and the blessings of
your countries; the responsibility is now yours to shoulder.
Today as graduates of this University, you are proud
West Indians. Be prepared to give to your community, your
country, your region. You have the power and opportunity
to build the countries of your dreams.
I wish you well.
Go Follow Your Dreams!
is is an excerpt of the address given by Chancellor of e UWI, Mr. Robert Bermudez,
at the Graduation ceremonies at the St. Augustine Campus from October 26-28, 2017.
" ere is strength in knowing
where you have come
from, but we cannot allow
ourselves to be paralyzed by
our historical circumstance."
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