This story has been updated and corrections made.
On Friday last week the Premier Hon. Dalton Tagelagi was installed as the 28th Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific at the start of the largest USP graduation ceremony in Niue’s history.
Sixty-five graduates received their qualifications including 12 with the Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and two with the Masters in Education.
The Minister of Social Services and Education Hon. Sauni Tongatule Niue’s representative on the USP Council officiated the installation of Premier Tagelagi as the Chancellor in front of dignitaries, graduates and hundreds gathered at the Niue High School multi-purpose hall at Paliati.
It’s understood that this is the first time the installation of the Chancellor of the USP has been done outside of Fiji, where the main campus of the university, Laucala is located. Premier Tagelagi will be USP Chancellor until the end of June 2020.
The Vice-Chancellor and President of the university Professor Pal Ahluwalia addressed the ceremony via video, congratulating the new Chancellor and the graduates. Professor Ahluwalia was impressed with the fact that more than half of the graduates are women and 56 percent graduated with postgraduate qualifications.
Among the graduates were several married couples including the oldest of the graduates who are in their seventies, former Speaker of the Niue Legislative Assembly Atapana Siakimotu and his wife and former Director of Education Loseligi Siakimotu.
Mrs Doreen Siataga spoke on behalf of the graduates after receiving her Masters in Business Administration with 12 others. She took the opportunity to speak to the representatives of the two main donors of the University Australia and NZ who were in attendance.
Mrs Siataga spoke of the challenges of studying remotely but hope for innovative ways going forward to improve the registration of students at the Niue campus instead of sending the students to Fiji.
Twelve graduates of the first cohort of MBA from Niue campus include three were women and including married couple Hagen and Margaret Siosikefu.
Other married couples include Deve Talagi who received his Graduate Certificate in Business Administration and his wife Maryanne Talagi her Postgraduate Diploma in Arts.
Frank Sioneholo also received his MBA while his wife Donna Sioneholo received her Certificate in Vernacular Vagahau Niue, one of 10 first cohort of the course which included former Minister of Social Services and Education Billy Graham Talagi.
Sione Leolahi received his Postgraduate Certificate in Business Administration and his wife Joy Leolahi, her certificate in Vernacular Vagahau Niue.
Four staff members of BCN also graduated. The General Manager Trevor Tiakia and ICT manager Rev. Scan Mitiepo both graduated with their Masters in Business Administration, Senior Producer/Journalist and Broadcaster Esther Pavihi graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Governance and Office Manager Losana Sioneholo graduated with a Certificate in Vernacular Vagahau Niue.
The graduation ceremony was organised by a committee led by Director of Education Birtha Lisimoni Tongahai and USP Niue Director Seone Lolesio.