Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) held its 20th Convocation at the stately Dewan Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik in UTAR Perak Campus, Kampar from 14 to 15 March 2015. A total of 2,379 graduands received their convocation scrolls in four sessions held over the two-day period.
They graduated from 73 programmes comprising 57 Bachelor (Honours) degree, 13 Master’s degree and three PhDs. The Convocation also celebrated the academic accomplishments of the pioneer batches of graduates from the Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Business Administration (Corporate Management) from the Faculty of Business and Finance, Bachelor of Science (Honours) Agricultural Science from the Faculty of Science, and Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Early Childhood Studies from the Faculty of Creative Industries.
Of the 2,379 graduands, five received their PhDs, 45 received their Master’s degree and 27 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. Chairman of the Board of Trustees UTAR Education Foundation Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Sak Cheng Lum, UTAR President Ir Prof Academician Dato’ Dr Chuah Hean Teik and other UTAR Council and Board of Trustees members were also present at the ceremony.
The Guests of Honour for the four sessions of the Convocation were Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development and Vice President of Malaysian Chinese Association YB Senator Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun for Session One, Perak State Executive Council Member and Perak State Chairman of Malaysian Chinese Association YB Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon for Session Two, Chairman of the Board of Trustees UTAR Education Foundation Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Sak Cheng Lum for Session Three, and Chief Executive Officer and Publisher of The Edge Media Group Ho Kay Tat for Session Four. The scroll presenters for session one to session four were UTAR Board of Trustees and Council Member Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Ting Chew Peh, UTAR Council Member Tan Sri Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn, Chairman of the Board of Trustees UTAR Education Foundation Tan Sri Sak and UTAR Council Member Dr Milton Lum Siew Wah.
Tun Ling congratulated the graduating students on their achievements. He motivated the graduates to be far-sighted people by quoting the famous saying of an American entrepreneur, Harvey Mackey saying, “A great accomplishment shouldn’t be the end of the road, just the starting point for the next leap forward.” He said, “Today’s convocation is not the end but the beginning of a new journey for you. Learning is a never-ending process and you will continue to pick up skills at work or during studies. If working is what you desire, my advice to you would be to cultivate adaptability, be open to new ideas, be flexible enough to work through challenging issues, and be able to cope when things do not go as planned.”
Prof Chuah advised graduates to embrace struggles and adversities as they are important parts of any growth experience. “If we go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly and gives you stronger wings to soar to greater heights,” he said.
He also added, “We live in a world that is often unpredictable. To pursue a dream requires remarkable courage because the road to success is full of twists and turns, ups and downs. There may be tough times out there but do remember what Jack Ma, a successful Chinese entrepreneur, said, ‘Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.”
Datin Paduka Chew inspired the graduating students, “Once you start working on something, don’t be afraid of failure and don’t abandon it halfway. Failure can always be a blessing in disguise for it is after each failure that your wisdom and experience grow, making you more mature. Look at things in different perspectives, hence, allowing you to make better decisions and choices.”
Dato’ Mah advised the graduates and said that, “Social skills, flexibility, leadership, initiative, and productivity are the elements of life skills you must embrace to unlock the character of an achiever within you.” He added, “Living the right character to be successful in career would also demand for positive attitudes and good intrapersonal skills to complement your knowledge competencies.”
Tan Sri Sak inspired the graduates by quoting one of 20th century’s greatest writer and poet, the Nobel Prize Winner William Butler Yeats saying, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. Build all the knowledge, experience and skills learnt in UTAR to stand tall and achieve the best in whatever you endeavour.”
Ho said, “Failures are not necessarily a bad thing. In life, not everything we do will end up in success. There are ups and downs but most importantly we must know how to manage failures and to turn them into opportunities for success. As Bill Gates puts it, “It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
Anisha Joanne a/p Chandrasegaran, who graduated in the March 2015 Convocation with a Bachelor of Social Science (Hons) Psychology with Distinction said, “I have always been interested in the human mind and behaviour and I wanted to probe into that matter further. I plan to do my Master’s overseas and would like to thank my mother for her unconditional sacrifices; and my lecturers and tutors for their invaluable advice and guidance.” Having fulfilled the requirements of a first class honours, Anisha would be exempted from the repayment of her PTPTN loan.
Another graduate, Wong Thean Keat who managed to overcome the odds to complete his part time Bachelor of Business Administration (Hons) with Second Class Upper said, “It is not easy to juggle time between studies and working full time. While time management is the key to success for most part time students, determination is just as important to ensure that you finish what you have started.” Wong, who is attached to UMW Toyota as a Marketing Executive had previously earned his Diploma in Marketing before working for Toyota. When asked what inspired him to study higher, the self-professed lifelong learner said, “I want to equip myself with a variety of business knowledge and skills and enhance my understanding of the corporate world. I also plan to do my Master’s in Business Administration for better career advancements in the future.”
With the addition of 2,379 graduates from this 20th Convocation, the number of the University’s alumni now stands at 38,277 since its inaugural convocation in 2005