Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) held its 21st Convocation at the Dewan Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik in UTAR Kampar Campus, Perak from 21 to 23 August 2015. A total of 2,281 graduands from 81 programmes comprising 61 Bachelor (Honours) degrees, 16 Master’s degrees and four PhDs received their convocation scrolls in four sessions held over the three-day period.
The convocation also celebrated the academic accomplishments of the pioneer batch of graduates from the programmes of Doctor of Philosophy (Engineering) from Faculty of Engineering and Green Technology; Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Philosophy and Bachelor of Building and Property Management (Honours) from Faculty of Accountancy and Management; Master of Engineering (Mechanical) from Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science; and Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, Bachelor of Nursing (Honours) and Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours) from Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Of the 2,281 graduands, five received their PhDs, 49 received their Master’s degree and 77 received their First Class Honours Degree/Honours Degree with Distinction while the rest received their Bachelor Honours with Merit and Bachelor Honours degree.
The Convocation was declared open by UTAR Council Chairman Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik. Also present at the convocation were Chairman of the Board of Trustees UTAR Education Foundation Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Sak Cheng Lum, members of UTAR Board of Trustees, members of UTAR Council, UTAR President Ir Prof Academician Dato’ Dr Chuah Hean Teik, university partners and guests.
The Guests of Honour for the four sessions of the convocation were Managing Director of Soon Soon Group of Companies Dato’ Dr Neoh Soon Bin for Session One, Executive Chairman of Jiankun International Berhad Dato’ Ir Donald Lim Siang Chai for Session Two, Fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad for Session Three, and Trustee of TARC Education Foundation and Member of UTAR Education Foundation Tan Sri Dato’ Lau Yin Pin for Session Four.
The scroll presenters were UTAR Council Member and Minister of International Trade and Industry II Dato’ Seri Ong Ka Chuan for Session One, UTAR Council Member Dr Milton Lum Siew Wah for Session Two, Chairman of the Board of Trustees UTAR Education Foundation Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Sak Cheng Lum for Session Three, and Trustee of TARC Education Foundation and Member of UTAR Education Foundation Tan Sri Dato’ Lau Yin Pin for Session Four.
Tun Ling introduced the guest of honour for each convocation session. In his introduction of Tun Mahathir he elaborated on how Tun Mahathir contributed towards the setting up of UTAR and the journey taken to raise funds for UTAR. Tun Ling also congratulated the graduates on their outstanding accomplishments and advised the graduates to be flexible towards changes and challenges especially if change is good and to never give up in the face of daunting challenges.
In his speech, UTAR President Prof Chuah said, “I am positive that UTAR’s tertiary education has equipped you with an inner compass to strengthen your navigational skills and orientation in coping with the challenges of your post-graduation journey in today’s globalised world. While you leverage on your tertiary education, the skills and knowledge as well as the alumni network to develop a sense of purpose in your own undertakings, do take note of the importance of living a life that supports all that is morally and ethically upright and continue to contribute to the community.”
He also advised the graduates to be creative and innovative. He added, “Creativity, ingenuity and innovation are the keys to success in the evolving global economy. Many of the fastest-growing jobs and emerging industries rely on workers’ creative capacity – the ability to think unconventionally, question the herd, imagine new scenarios, and produce astonishing work. And the things that are going to be required in the workforce are adaptation and flexibility. Therefore, you must learn how to imagine the unimaginable and hone your creative skills.”
Dato’ Neoh gave a motivating speech to the graduating students, “The scroll that you receive today is like a passport. How far you can go from here is up to you. You have to take initiative and make your own decisions.” He also said, “Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate, it is a life long process. Practice continuous learning in order to put yourself ahead of your peers in terms of knowledge, skills, competitiveness, employability and personal development.
Dato’ Donald Lim inspired the graduating students and said, “I’m confident that UTAR has equipped you with a solid foundation to further your studies or embark on your careers. However, you are not to rest on your laurels. In today’s highly competitive job market, many employers are in search of recruits with additional qualities and positive personal characteristics. As much as academic qualification is important, you also need to possess the ability to learn, develop and adapt to change.”
Tun Mahathir congratulated the graduates and inspired them on the importance of value systems. “The knowledge that you equipped from your University must be used to serve yourself, your family, your society and your nation. As a graduate you should possess a good and right value system to succeed in life.” He emphasised on the three major values of responsibility, hard work and honesty that one should possess in order to achieve success in life. “Bring with you the knowledge that you gained and the right values to succeed in your life. You must feel responsible for your society. A sense of responsibility is very important in order to build a society with good qualities. Use your knowledge to help your society to prosper and build a stable society and nation.”
Tan Sri Lau spoke on internationalisation. He said, “It is very important for you to equip yourself to survive in a more internationalised Malaysia. Fast developing nations in the world are exerting more and more influence in the Asean region through continuous internationalisation efforts. Therefore, it is certainly an added advantage if you have the characteristics of an internationally competitive individual. Mastering the lingua franca especially English, being progressive in actions, and being creative and critical in thinking are among the crucial 21st century skills required for a more globalised outlook.”
The convocation also witnessed the conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degree (Doctor of Medical Science) to the wife of the Fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Dr Siti Hasmah binti Hj Mohd Ali for her contributions and leadership in the fields of public health, medical sciences, literacy and drug abuse control. Tun Dr Siti Hasmah is an exemplary outstanding Malaysian woman whose contributions and achievements, both professional and personal, have influenced and improved the lives of many women and children in Malaysia. She is an icon, embraced and respected by many women, not only for her achievements and professionalism but most importantly, for her dedication, warmth and compassion.
Ang Wen Jean, a graduate of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) with merit said, “I am happy and proud as the first batch of UTAR MBBS programme graduate. It has been a wonderful journey over the last five years and I feel accomplished today. I have always been inspired by my parents to be a medical practitioner and I wanted to serve those people who are in need. I completed my internship at a government hospital in Ampang. It was a hectic but good experience. I learnt a lot, and I realised that a massive amount of knowledge has to be learnt to become a qualified doctor.” She also added, “I would like to thank my parents for their unconditional support and my lecturers and tutors for their invaluable advice and guidance.”
Also present at the convocation sessions were the UTAR Chinese Orchestra and UTAR students who sang several songs to entertain the parents and guests. The mace-bearers were UTAR Student Representative Council members who led the convocation guest of honour procession for each session.
With the addition of 2,281 graduates from this 21st Convocation, the number of UTAR alumni now stands at 40,558 since its inaugural convocation in 2005.
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