His Excellency’s Address to The University of Trinidad and Tobago Graduating Class of 2014

His Excellency, Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, ORTT, SC President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago addresses The University of Trinidad and Tobago Graduating Class of 2014 on November 12, 2014.

As Chancellor of this progressive and innovative institution, The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), I take immense pleasure in expressing my heartfelt congratulations to you Graduates on the occasion of this 2014 Presentation of Graduates.  I urge you to be a dynamo for positive social change, be the light in someone else’s darkness, and the beacon in your nation’s life.  The legacy in your life must be a statement of action, not a statement of theory.

Graduates, you have every reason to be proud of your accomplishments.  I recognise and applaud your commitment, sacrifice, and perseverance, critical factors on any road to success.  I encourage you to adopt a philosophy of life that will not only give you a sense of vision and purpose, but also the capacity to exercise compassion, to help the weak, the voiceless and the marginalized, and to ensure that you are a proponent of a just, fair and equitable society.

One defining feature of UTT in its ten-year existence is the diversity of programmes at the University’s multi-campus locations that connects to a philosophy of innovation and competitive entrepreneurship.  The hallmark of UTT is, and must continue to be, an environment that encourages critical thinking as an important facet of one’s professional life.  You therefore have the distinct asset, and by extension the responsibility, to bring a more enlightened and clinical approach to discourse on issues of national, regional and international importance.

There is a continuing discourse as to whether university education is a right or a privilege.  It certainly is an opportunity not open to many and this shoulders you graduates with a social and moral responsibility not only to simply give back, but to inspire those who have lost faith and are shrouded in self-doubt, and to further motivate those who have lost their sense of purpose and direction.  I must warn you not to abandon the relationships you have fostered in the classroom over these past years because these relationships you have cultivated may well be your lifeline in time to come.  The learning torch must not grow dim after graduation.  It must be a light and an impetus for you to attend lecture series and academic fora with a view to enhancing your knowledge base, since knowledge neither is, nor is meant to be, static.

Your families, friends and lecturers at UTT are proud of your achievements.  They have given you the best that they can possibly give, firm in their belief that you can and will aspire to even greater heights.  In your personal pursuit of success and happiness be ever mindful of your responsibility to re-invest in the development of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.  We have a hope, and I dare say a right, to expect returns on our investment for this Republic needs you and has been at your side through thick and thin, and you must never be a fair-weather friend, fleeing when your country needs you most.

Graduating class of 2014, all God’s blessings and all success in your future endeavours.