The faculty head speaking at a gathering of Otago graduands and their families four years ago said that graduation would mean more to the parents than graduates.
I thought back to my own capping more than 20 years earlier and better understood my mother’s and father’s excitement, possibly in part because I’d achieved something the Depression had prevented them from doing.
I can’t remember who delivered the address at my graduation or what s/he said. The speaker at our daughter’s capping was Jonathon Lemalu. He told us that he’d been on many stages round the world but on none of them had he felt as proud as when he crossed the Dunedin Town Hall stage to be capped.
Fast forward to last Friday and another graduation, this time in Auckland, and even more parental pride.
The University of Otago is a very important part of Dunedin and because of that there’s usually good will between town and gown. I hadn’t expected the same feeling in Auckland, where the university is bigger but less important to the city. However, the excitement of the graduands and their families seemed to be shared by other onlookers as the graduands’ procession passed by.
The procession had a strong muliti-cultural look. That international flavour was reinforced during the graduation ceremony later in the day as we listened to the graduands’ names being called and watched them cross the stage.
It was particularly noticeable with Optometry. Only 12 of the 37 graduating were men and all of the dozen looked as if they were of Asian descent. If appearance and names are a reliable guide, about 2/3 of the women in the class were also of Asian descent.
Appearance isn’t necessarily a reliable indicator of nationality, of course. Many of these people will be New Zealanders by birth, or choice. New Zealand is a melting pot, and there are many positive opportunities for us in that.
I do however, have concerns about another observation – only four of the 37 new optometrists are working in the South Island.
Emeritus Professor Bellamy gave the graduation address and offered five points to guide the new graduates:
* Maintain honesty and integrity in what you do.
* Strive to ensure decisions are evidence based.
* Foster the ability to work in a team.
* Continue to read outside your discipline to broaden your understanding of the world.
* Keeping perfecting your ability to express your thoughts clearly in speech and writing.
After the ceremony we had a celebration dinner at Number 5 . First class service and delicious food in delightful surroundings provided a fitting end to a wonderful day.