Stay and serve -- UG Tain top graduate urges others By Jeune Bailey Van-Keric
Guyana Chronicle
December 6, 2006

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THE Valedictorian of the fifth batch graduating from the University of Guyana Tain campus in Berbice has urged fellow graduates to realise that their vision, mission, and goal is to make a greater contribution to national development.

Ms. Dawn Williamson was the best graduating student at the convocation Saturday, scoring the highest grade points in acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree in Public Management. She was awarded the Republic Bank Award for topping the batch.

In her valedictory speech, Williamson told the graduates the university had done its job in their individual development, and they, in turn, have an obligation to demonstrate the level of learning achieved by exhibiting appropriate attitudes, values, morals, and ethics of life.

Society will judge you, she warned, adding “and society can be a harsh judge”.

“The society”, Williamson said, “will perceive, and rightly so, that you have become matured individuals, and your character has been moulded, and as a result you would be expected to demonstrate that you possess increased levels of knowledge and skills”.

“If you do not measure up…you would lose respect in your communities and your ability to impact upon the development in your community and society would be diminished”, she advised.

She recalled the late United States President, John F. Kennedy, urging Americans to “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

The expectant mother told fellow students she is aware of their personal ambitions, but said a greater need is their obligation to the land of their birth.

In addition, the employee of the National Insurance Scheme warned the graduates not to believe that they have arrived, by their acquired knowledge, but instead realise that university education marks a beginning of the quest for knowledge, for the resolution of the complexities of real life problems, which would stretch one’s capabilities to be innovative, creative, and yet simple and practical.

The married mother of a daughter challenged the batch to recognise that life is a process of continuous learning and that recognising the fact would assist in climbing the career ladder.

Referring to Sir Arthur Lewis’ address to the first batch of the UG graduating class in 1968, Williamson said, “Nature will take its revenge on those who came to pass and not to know. They will pass and not know. If you acquire no more than information, you will be a totally lost soul and the piece of paper you take with you will not chart your course though life.”

She reminded them that being educated does not mean that you are bound to make a success of life, any more than ignorance means that you are going to be a failure.

It is whether or not you put into practice what you were taught, that matters, she said.