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NCU pandemic graduates praised as ‘chosen generation’

Published:Monday | December 14, 2020 | 12:13 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

More than 800 students were conferred with degrees and diplomas during the Northern Caribbean University’s historic virtual graduation ceremony on Sunday.

NCU President Dr Lincoln Edwards said the university remains resolute in changing lives through education.

“... NCU builds character, creativity, and competence in our students ... . Our students have demonstrated, nationally and internationally, what is possible when they are provided with opportunities, the right guidance, and an atmosphere in which they can unleash their creative energy,” the president said.

Edwards said that partnerships with international institutions have boosted the university’s efforts in carrying out its mandate.

The graduation ceremony was held virtually because of the health risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic and a gathering ban of no more than 15 persons.

The event was shifted from August when it is traditionally held.

Keynote speaker Dr Linford Pierson, former government minister and speaker of the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly, encouraged graduates to be resilient in the face of adversity.

“Graduating in the midst of the current pandemic will have enduring implications on the class of 2020 for their memories, earning power, and what it means to have a functional society,” said Pierson.

He urged the graduates to view COVID-19 as a defining moment that offered opportunities to see the beginning of a new normal rather than a setback.

Having dropped out of the then West Indies College, NCU’s precursor, as a teen after his father lost his job, Pierson believes great successes are often achieved after tough trials.

“ ... Never has a graduating class been called to step into the future with more purpose, more vision , more passion, more energy. You are indeed a chosen generation,” said Pierson, who is chairman of the board of the Cayman Islands Utility Regulation and Competition Office.

Business administration student Britanya Bryan topped the graduating class with a GPA score of 3.93. Sharing the honour of summa cum laude was valedictorian and theology student Arton Wedderburn, who scored a GPA of 3.90.

The graduating class included three scholarship beneficiaries of NCU’s RESCUE 2020 scholarship programme: Daneilia Brown, Daniel Melbourne, and Ivor O’Connor. RESCUE – Restoring Every Student’s Confidence Using Education – provides young people from challenging socio-economic backgrounds with academic opportunities.