|A candle lighting ceremony at Student Orientation symbolizes |
students' new journey, at HPU.
Reflecting back four years, I vividly remember welcoming members of the Spring 2015 Hawai‘i Pacific University graduating class and their families to the New Student Orientation Kick Off and Family Reception. This was also my first year serving as HPU president, so I was new to the HPU ‘ohana, too. The culmination of the orientation event was the candle lighting ceremony and the recitation of the student pledge. Sharing this HPU tradition symbolized the beginning of these students’ connection to their classmates, their alma mater and the HPU journey ahead.
Fast forward to today. Nearly 900 HPU students will earn academic degrees, representing a broad range of disciplines, from International Business to Social Work, Computer Science to Diplomacy, Psychology to Nursing. Our graduates are from Hawai‘i, the mainland U.S. and nearly 50 nations around the world. They have experienced much of the world and much of Hawai‘i at HPU, an international learning community set in the rich cultural context of Hawai‘i.
Each of today’s graduates has a different story to tell about their path to HPU, their subsequent journey at the University, and best of all, their plans and hopes for the future. One thing, however, remains the same for each of our nearly 900 graduates, HPU’s newest alumni. They have a bond with the University, each other and the more than 40,000 HPU alumni who comprise a vital network around the world.
The faculty, staff and administration of HPU are proud of all of our graduates. The sum of their accomplishments and sacrifices made to get to where they are today is commendable.
While their diplomas, the physical symbols of their hard-earned achievement, will be important to our graduates, it is also important not to forget what they stand for. Our graduates received an education, not just a credential. I hope the diploma serves as a reminder to continue on the path of being a life-long learner. And we challenge our graduates to use the knowledge they gained at HPU not only to make a mark for themselves in the world but to make their communities — wherever that may be — better places.
To our graduates, congratulations, and mark your calendars for Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, for HPU’s 50th anniversary celebration at the newly reimagined Aloha Tower Marketplace. It will be a homecoming of sorts, and we hope to see you there! We wish you well on your journey beyond HPU and look forward to hearing of your successes along the way. For now, we say a hui hou, until we meet again.