A total of 8,500 students are expected to graduate from the University of Rwanda (UR), on Friday, at Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali.
Two graduands will be awarded PhDs, 324 masters, 687 diploma (post-graduate) and 6,365 will be conferred upon with undergraduate degrees, according to Prof. Philip Cotton, the vice-chancellor.
There will be one combined graduation for the entire university, which is made up of six colleges. Previously, there were five graduation ceremonies held for the six colleges at various venues.
About 24,000 people, including the graduates and their parents, 700 members of academic staff as well as 150 invited guests, are expected to attend the ceremony.
In an interview, yesterday, Prof. Cotton explained that bringing together the six colleges and graduands in one ceremony expresses their oneness as one university.
“As a university, we are a multi-disciplinary organisation, so we want to celebrate that and express that,” he said.
“We want to celebrate the success of our students as much as that of our institution through our academic members of staff,” Cotton added.
He said the university is committed impacting the lives of young people so that they can explore the world, they can articulate the values and beliefs as well as be creative and innovative to create their own opportunities in the environment.
“The public should expect some very fine young people to graduate from this university. Those young people during their four years [or] sometimes longer with us, have carried out and worked together to perform some amazing deeds,” Prof. Cotton said.
“I know that within the 8,500 students we are graduating, there are some extraordinary young people. Some of them have shown that they are extraordinary by doing well in the assessments through the university. The majority of them have shown that they are extraordinary through their expressions of compassion, of collegiality by working together trying to build communities.”
He said the students have worked together to support one another, reached out to communities.
Prof. Cotton stressed that what the university wants is great collaboration with alumni, and employers to give their students practical experience during the time at university.
He said another new thing is that all of the graduates will stand and take an oath. In the previous years, it has been the healthcare professionals and veterinary professionals who have taken a graduation oath.
The vice-chancellor said this is in line with personal moral accountability, to hold oneself accountable in the future.
“It doesn’t matter how good your knowledge is, how great your skills are, if you don’t use them to serve other human-beings. If you use them for personal gains, then, you are probably not the kind of graduate that we want,” Prof. Cotton said.
Last year, University of Rwanda graduated some 8,000 students in its second graduation since the merging of seven public universities and institutions of higher learning in 2013 to create a single university.
It is holding the third graduation since its inception.