NASSAU, The Bahamas ---The 2007 graduating class of the College of the Bahamas proudly closed one chapter in their professional and personal development during a commencement exercise at Bahamas Faith Ministries International on Thursday.
Hundreds packed into the church’s auditorium on Carmichael Road to watch the graduates close one chapter in their academic lives. It was a bitter sweet moment for the graduates as they proudly strode on stage to collect their graduating certificates.
Among them were Gaye Antoine-Bowe, recipient of the Governor-General’s Award, Patrick A Thompson, who won the President’s Award and Theo Cooper, who captured the College’s Alumni Association Leadership Award.
Mrs. Antoine-Bowe, who turned her back on a lucrative job in the financial services sector to pursue a degree in Education graduated with distinction and spoke on behalf of the 2007 graduating class.
Mr. Thompson has a BSc in mathematics with distinction and Mr. Cooper obtained a Bachelor of Education degree in biology and combined sciences.
Mrs. Antoine-Bowe said that the celebrations were preceded by “much sacrifice and labour.”
She recalled the sacrifices, disappointments, triumphs that all the students could relate to. Her “story”, she said, reflected the “story” of the entire graduating class.
“It was a grueling journey but thanks be to God we conquered every challenge,” she said to applause. “And now today is a story of victory.”
The commencement address was delivered by Dr Desiree Cox, medical doctor, musician, publisher and writer, and the College’s President, Ms Jayne Hodder gave the president’s charge.
Dr. Cox asked the graduates to reach for that potential within in an ever changing world. She said that each and every one of them had the power to bring about change in the world, and encouraged them to see themselves as a whole, not simply on an intellectual level.
Dr. Cox used some of her creative painting to emphasis some points in her talk. She said that spiritual development of the students was just as important as emotional and intellectual development.
Ms. Hodder surveyed the students with a look of pride and nostalgia in her eyes. She recalled the history of the College of the Bahamas, established in 1974, and said that work was moving full steam ahead to transform the college into the University of the Bahamas.
“Today we stand deeply engaged in our challenge from college to university,” she said adding that there is much to be done on the journey to university status. This included increased levels of research and the introduction of new programmes in several key areas.
“We need to create knowledge in and for this country, not simply transmit it,” she added.
Mr. Franklyn Wilson, Chairman of the college did not address the graduates but in his note to them, he challenged them to “set ever higher goals that reflect the highest values of godliness and good citizenship.”
“Know that you, the 2007graduates of the College of the Bahamas, will be the major architects of the future for us all,” he wrote. “You will be the entrepreneurs, the workforce, the people of ideas and inventions who will construct the foundation of a productive society to nurture future generations of Bahamians and, perhaps, others beyond our shores.
“With your new status as graduates of the College of the Bahamas, you will be presented with many paths to explore. Whatever the directions you choose, keep in mind the need to be of real service to this community, which has nurtured you. You have ample evidence that your community and world have need
of your selfless service more than ever before.”