Nassau, BAHAMAS – On Thursday, 26th May, 2016 under the theme, “Sharing the National Vision: Shaping the Future” the 2016 Commencement Class stood tall and proud at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium with thousands of supportive and enthusiastic parents, family and friends applauding in the stands.
In what would be his last New Providence Commencement Ceremony address as College Council Chairman, Mr. Alfred Sears, Q.C. lauded the graduands and charged them to strive to be leaders in their communities and the nation.
“As The College of The Bahamas stands at the threshold of becoming the University of The Bahamas, with its promise of playing an even more intense transformative, positive and socializing role across the Bahamian archipelago, I am reminded that it is the quality of the students that the College produces that is of paramount importance to the academy’s mission of constructing human highways to a prosperous and sustainable Bahamian future,” shared Chairman Sears.
“Through your success at the College, class of 2016, and the promise you hold as fully engaged citizens in various aspects of community and national life, you are the best evidence of the clear relationship between higher education and national development. Your success and promise also demonstrates the national imperative to expand access to higher education as a means of pushing back against the social and economic forces that threaten to derail the advancement of the Bahamian people.”
College President Dr. Rodney D. Smith expressed his confidence in the graduates as innovators and leaders.
“Today 594 students are graduating from the College of The Bahamas. Graduates, you are the men and women who will build a stronger Bahamas; you are the community leaders and activists; you are the innovators and gatekeepers of our history and culture. Many of you have already begun. It is important then, that you understand your unique roles as nation builders. The College of The Bahamas has the privilege of being a partner in the creation of the National Development Plan. While it is a privilege to bring our faculty’s expertise, research skills and knowledge to the table, it is also carries with it…an awesome responsibility. We, at the University, will be key in helping to share the national vision and in so doing…shape our future. One of the most influential ways in which we are already shaping the future of the country, is by producing well-educated graduates. In truth, you are the true catalysts for change in this country. You will be the ones to take on the challenges we currently face and help to eliminate them, both now and for the future,” said Smith.
H.E. A. Missouri Sherman-Peter Ambassador and Permanent Observer for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to the United Nations gave the keynote address she reflected on her early childhood growing up in Bain and Grants Town and how the soon to be University of The Bahamas started with humble beginnings and has transformed into the tertiary institution of the nation.
“A national vision duly shared can shape the future…as our country developed this very sight between the location first of the Government High School, then The College of The Bahamas and soon the University of The Bahamas…the theme, “Sharing the National Vision: Shaping the Future” is significant for you the graduates, for The College and for The Bahamas. Today, The College is an important partner in the Vision2040 initiative, which is to bring into sharp focus a distinctly Bahamian shared national vision. Bahamians and well as those with interest in The Bahamas are expected to subscribe to this long-term road map, which will guide our efforts to shape our future for our country and our people. What better place to contribute to this vision than The College of The Bahamas a bedrock for nation building entrusted with education and training and charged with building integrity and character, instilling principals and professionalism and ethical work standards especially among young Bahamians,” explained Sherman-Peter.
Mr. Trevor O. Johnson, Jr. Bachelor of Education: Secondary Certification major received top honours for Spring 2016 receiving the President’s, Alumni, Governor General’s Awards as well as the School of Education’s Award of Academic Excellence. He enthusiastically encouraged his fellow classmates to always thirst for knowledge.
“Graduates we made it! The path we now travel is not to be taken lightly…today we celebrate as survivors, conquerors, world changers and path makers as we have indeed risen from the ashes of adversity and thrived for academic success…My fellow graduates, I encourage you to continue in your passion and thirst for learning and if you do you will never cease to grow. The more we acquire, the more we can build a better tomorrow,” encouraged Johnson.
Among the 594 graduates, approximately 23 percent were males with 73 percent of the graduating class received baccalaureate degrees. The vast majority of graduates were from the School of Education.
Also, The College named Dr. Raymond Oenbring, Assistant Professor, School of English Studies with the Stanley Wilson Award for Excellence in Research scholar. Travelle Rahjib Taylor was named the recipient of the Northern Bahamas Campus Award for Academic Excellence.