Hundreds of hugs have been shared and glasses raised this week as around 600 students graduated from the University of Waikato at three graduation ceremonies.
It was a milestone year as the University capped its 90,000th graduate and acknowledged the final graduation ceremony at Te Kohinga Mārama Marae. Next year, all Hamilton graduation ceremonies will be held at the new on-campus facility and marae, The Pa.
The 90,000th graduate, Cole McOnie, received his Bachelor of Health, Sport and Human Performance degree. An elite international BMX rider, Cole is currently training for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
The celebrations began at the University’s marae on Monday, followed by two ceremonies at the Glowbox Arena in Claudelands on Wednesday.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Neil Quigley, told students that graduation was a time to reflect on the learning and personal growth they had achieved in completing their qualifications.
“Thank you to all of you, graduates, your family and friends, for taking the time to celebrate with University staff and others from the Waikato community, the important event that is your graduation,” he said.
Student speaker Paige McKenna-Harris, who graduated with a Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours degree, is now a general manager for the Wellness & Household cleaning verticals at fast-moving consumer goods company, ZURU Edge.
“You are here celebrating so many things: your resilience, determination, the closing of an incredible chapter,” Paige said to students.
“Our time here is not remembered by grades, popularity, or recognition, but by our relationships.
“While it is our courage and resilience that allows us to pick ourselves up and forge toward our own goals and aspirations, it is kindness and compassion that allows us to pick up those around us."
The next graduation at the University is scheduled for April next year.