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The Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor, Members of the Board of Regents, Officers of the University, distinguished guests, university partners, graduands, graduands’ families and friends, members of the press, ladies and gentlemen.
It is an honor and a great opportunity that I stand before you this morning on behalf of my fellow graduands. It gives me abundant joy to see you all at this memorable occasion. Nothing would be possible without the Lord granting us this day.
I will begin by quoting Proverbs chapter 3, verses 5 and 6; Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. These words written by Solomon, the son of David, the Old Testament King of Israel, tell us that our understanding is limited to the confines of our human nature; therefore we should put our trust in the Lord and put Him at the forefront of everything that we do, for we know not that which is forthcoming, but we can put our faith and trust in Him to direct us.
A long awaited time has finally come, and to my fellow graduands, it has been quite a journey. We can now look back and recollect the memories of how our voyage began. Our freshman year was accompanied with anxiety and sleepless nights, not forgetting the days when intermediate algebra was equivalent to rocket science, and when assignments were submitted one minute before the deadline. As time went by, we started to realize how much effort was required from each one of us. With every choice that we made, we had to forgo another. These were times when we had to sacrifice the opportunity to be with family and friends during weekends and holidays for the sake of our studies, organizing team meetings, preparing for upcoming classes, presentations and exams.
Other unforeseen challenges emerged such as financial constraints, transport, and for CPS students, the challenge of balancing a very demanding work/school life and negotiating for study-time with employers. It is only by God’s will that all these events came to pass, and we thank God for the good health He gave each one of us to successfully complete our academic studies.
Although we faced a number of challenges, we learned from our experiences, and acquired new sets of skills; from learning-teams that have given us the ability to interact and cooperate with contemporaries of diverse backgrounds, to non-negotiable deadlines that have trained us to complete a given task in good time. It is time to shift our skills and knowledge to new places that draw near each day.
As graduands, let us not look upon ourselves as being successful alone, but let us look back at each day and event and acknowledge the countless number of people that helped us be where we are today, the people that sacrificed their time and resources, and had faith that we would, one day, make it. We thank everyone who put in their immense effort and helped us progress in the pursuit of our academic achievement. Family members, parents, guardians, lecturers, friends, financial aid, companies and organizations, on behalf of my fellow graduands, we are truly grateful.
We are all coming from different backgrounds, with varying ages and personalities, but today we are in unison as graduands. As per APA standard and format…. I quote to you, the words of John A. Shedd; a ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. Graduands, each one of us is a ship hand-crafted by Northrise University, yet to set sail.
This is our safe harbor, where we can see the horizon in-front of us, a new journey awaits us. Tomorrow we set sail, we become excellent at what is good. We may encounter storms and trials but let us not be discouraged, for the Lord shall direct our paths if we put our trust in Him. Let us use what we have been equipped with to make our community a better place, one day at a time, to our country, and to the world at large.
I encourage you, graduands, to work harder and continue learning, not only for your own good, but for the good of others, for your families and friends, and future families, and for generations to come. Your efforts will one day be another person’s foundation; your testimony will one day be another person’s source of motivation.
Before I end, I would like to share my personal experience from a Northrise student perspective. I registered as an evening student because I was already employed before I pursued my academic studies. Balancing work and school was not easy, as I had to find a suitable study method that would not keep me asleep during working hours because I may have slept once in my office. Nevertheless, Northrise provided a flexible timetable and the lecturers made me realize that I was capable of doing more than what I thought I could initially do by getting the best out of me and my abilities through their individual and effective instructing methods.
I would like to acknowledge Mr Choongo Hamoonga who was an inspiration and more of a mentor to me during my years at Northrise. For those that have been thinking about pursuing a degree at Northrise, let this be your time, you will not look back. The skills that I have acquired have given me the ability to solve problems in my workplace, to pursue an entrepreneurial project, and have broadened and sharpened my thinking.
In conclusion, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Faculty and Administrative Staff of Northrise, the entire Northrise family, all family members, parents and guardians, your efforts and work through the years have been invaluable. Truly, we can only say that the Lord has brought us thus far. May the Lord God bless you all.
Chancellor, that concludes the valedictory address.