Fri 15 May 2015

The highlight of the academic year

Friday May 22 is undoubtedly going to be one of the highlights of a lifetime for more than 150 WITT graduates.

"It's graduation night for all of the WITT students who completed their degree and diploma courses in December last year,'' says WITT marketing manager Veronica Andrews.

For the students it's the culmination of one to three year's hard work and the evening is marked with all the pomp and formality it deserves.

The ceremony is at the TSB Showplace and indications are that there will be about 600 to 700 there to see them graduate. "It's really nice for them to have their family and friends there for the ceremony, it's a great achievement."

"Many graduates have since left the region and are working in other parts of the country or overseas, but they make the effort to come back and celebrate this special occasion.''

While many of the traditional aspects of the ceremony remain, for the second consecutive year graduating students have four choices when it comes to dress.

Apart from the traditional robes, students can now opt to wear korowai, which is the traditional Māori ceremonial dress; international students can dress in their own country's traditional costumes and other students can choose to simply wear appropriate attire.

 "For the students, their families, the staff and everyone in the WITT whanau, this is what it's all about.''

The success of the ever-increasing numbers of international students graduating from WITT certainly adds to the international flavour of this special evening, which starts at 5.30pm.

In another departure from tradition, the keynote speaker will be WITT chief executive Barbara George. Giving the address on behalf of the students is Nursing graduate Jennifer Chamberlain.

The ceremony starts with the traditional street parade at 4.45pm at the TSB Showplace car park on King St. After walking down King St, the graduation parade will walk down Ariki St, turning into Currie St and then on to Devon St to return to the TSB Showplace.

It is the only chance the community at large has to publicly wish the graduates well and it is timely reminder to the public of the important role WITT plays in the region.