By: Byron Buckley/NCU |
Northern Caribbean University (NCU) graduating class of 2020 has been encouraged to embrace the changes resulting from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the challenges they have experienced.
“There is a desire to see things to return to normal like before the pandemic. That is probably never going to happen,” commencement speaker Dr Linford Pierson told the graduands during NCU’s virtual graduation ceremony held on Sunday, December 13, 2020.
“Consider our new normal as part of God’s new vision for his people. God has new plans, and we must take his plans and make them our plans. We cannot do that if we keep looking at our past and not to his future. His plans for you are endless promises,” declared the former Minister of Government in the Cayman Islands, who is currently the chairman of the board of directors of the Cayman Islands Utility Regulation and Competition Office.
Dr Pierson, an alumnus of West Indies Training College, the forerunner of NCU, told the graduating class that realising their theme of Empowered by God: Fuelled by vision…Propelled by Purpose required them to have a genuine relationship with God. “These promises can only come alive through your faith in Him. Jesus is the way, the road to blessings and salvation. Seek Him and hear from Him. This is the way of faith and faith is the way to victory,” he counselled.
In his address, NCU President Dr Lincoln Edwards reported that with the arrival of COVID-19 earlier this year, NCU moved expeditiously to suspend face-to-face classes and switched to online and remote teaching. This transition was facilitated by input from the Department of University Information Systems Services (UNISS), which had previously developed the Aeorion learning management system.
Because of the health risks presented by the pandemic, the university was forced to hold a virtual commencement ceremony for the first time in its 101-year history in Mandeville, Manchester.
More than 800 graduands were conferred with degrees and diplomas from several disciplines delivered across the institution’s four colleges and one school. Dr Edwards highlighted the achievements of several graduates including Britanya Bryan, from the Department of Business Administration, who attained a summa cum laude with the highest GPA of 3.93. Another summa cum laude graduate is valedictorian Arton Wedderburn, from the School of Religion and Theology, with a GPA of 3.90.
President Edwards noted that the graduating class included three scholarship beneficiaries of NCU’s RESCUE 2020 scholarship programme: Daneilia Brown, Daniel Melbourne and Ivor O’Connor. The initiative -Restoring Every Student’s Confidence Using Education- provides the opportunity for the advancement of young people who are experiencing challenging socio-economic background and circumstances.
He disclosed that in spite of COVID-19 NCU students have continued to seize opportunities to excel academically. The achievements included:
-Graduating music senior Sashekia Brown recently earned a master class with the world-renowned Premiere Opera Vocal Arts Institute based in Italy.
-NCU final year student, Chad-Anthony Coke won the Jamaica Stock Exchange 2019/2020 fourth quarter Market Research Competition and went on to be a joint winner in the finals.
-NCU students Rory Hall and Onyeka Nevins took home the First Place English Division trophy from the Church Teachers’ College English-Spanish Invitational Debate on March 6, 2020, and Onyeka Nevins and Terrain Wright won the NCU Invitational Debate Series for 2019.
-Under the ELAP programme, which is sponsored by the Canadian Government, four NCU students spent a semester at Brandon University in Canada. Under the programme, in Spring of 2021, another seven students will depart to study at Brandon for one semester.
“Here at NCU, we have a deep and abiding commitment to a holistic model of education, and so we offer a Christ-centered, values-based education, underpinned by strong work ethics, and an emphasis on service. The result is that NCU builds character, creativity, and competence in our students,” declared President Edwards.
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