It is my privilege and honour to heartily welcome you to the 11th convocation ceremony of Veritas University, Abuja. We have gathered to celebrate the graduation of a crop of young students who have successfully completed their studies. We celebrate the result of hard work, commitment to studies, self- discipline, obedience to authority, and moral rectitude of the students of this prestigious university.

I congratulate the students for achieving their goal, I also commend and thank the Vice Chancellor of Veritas University, Rev. Fr. Professor Hyacinth Ichoku and all his staff for their steadfastness in the education and formation of our students; the labour of your hands will not go in vain. By the same token, allow me to congratulate the management as well as the entire university community for the giant strides attained so far. No doubt, Veritas University is progressively advancing to the position its founding fathers had in mind: A university that will rank among the best in the world, with students who can favorably compete with the very best! I remember vividly in a brainstorming session held at the Pope John Paul II Centre, Abuja, before Veritas University was relocated from the temporary site in Obiehe in Abia State to its permanent site in Bwari, Abuja, one of the experts invited to brainstorm on the nature of the university was Professor Charles Soludo, the current Governor of Anambra State, who repeatedly talked about a Catholic university that must have an academic and spiritual identity and nature that is very uniquely Catholic.

At this juncture, let me congratulate the parents and sponsors of the graduating students who all have played key roles and contributed to their success today. We thank the proprietors of this noble institution, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) for their collective efforts and will to keep this university going. I also use this opportunity to thank in a special way all those who have in one way or the other contributed to the infrastructural development of this university.It was heart warming to get the news in August from the Dicastery of Catholic Education, Rome, establishing two new Ecclesiastical Faculties at Veritas University; one of theology and one of philosophy and granting a one-year approval for the Statutes of the new Faculties until the procedures are formalized.

Dear graduating students, after acquiring your university degree in your respective disciplines, it is assumed that you are now ripe to be given responsibilities to contribute your own quota to society as law abiding citizens; responsible young adults capable of playing your role in the national development of your country Nigeria, and even globally, as citizens of the world.The implication for a Catholic University is clear and compelling. St Bernard of Clairvaux puts it so well: “There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is curiosity. There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is vanity. There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is love.”

Therefore, from today moving forward, the way and manner you carry yourselves, must be as persons who are groomed and cultured. The education you have gained from passing through Veritas University must transcend in the way you speak and handle affairs that concern you. Wherever you find yourselves, you must exude a certain presence and confidence as individuals who have passed through the walls of a university.

Whether you choose to further your studies for a Masters or Doctoral degree, or decide to get a job and begin a career for yourselves, you must henceforth exude that confidence that is expected of graduates of Veritas University. You must be seen by society as young brilliant minds that represent the future of this country and the beacon of hope for the next generation after you and you must work hard to make a good name for yourselves. And to do this, you must live a life of truth and integrity. For no matter how successful you may become in the future, if you do not have a good name, then all you would have worked for shall be for vanity.

While thanking our Professors and lecturers I wish to remind them that they are expected to continue to be models for their students by bearing transparent witness to Christ and to the beauty of the gospel. If boys and girls are to experience the splendour of the Church, the Christian example of teachers and others responsible for their formation is indispensable, and no effort should be spared in guaranteeing the presence of such witness in the University.

Professors and lecturers should also develop a willingness to collaborate among themselves. Teachers, together with parents and board members, are to work as a team for the school’s common good. Their communion fosters appreciation of the various charisms and vocations that build up a genuine university community and strengthen scholastic solidarity. Educators, administrators, parents, and bishops guide the school to make choices that encourage solidarity instead of individualistic self-promotion and competition; assisting the vulnerable instead of marginalization or discrimination, responsible participation instead of indifference. St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians 2:1-4 puts it so well: “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourself. Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interests of others.”

The Veritas University chaplaincy should be vibrant enough in attracting students and indeed the entire community, to come to know, love and serve Jesus. The Holy See, through papal interventions and the documents of the Congregation for Catholic Education, recognizes the priceless treasure of Catholic schools as an indispensable instrument of evangelization. Ensuring their genuinely Catholic identity is the Church’s greatest educational challenge. At their best, Catholic schools teach young people to see the world in the light of the greatest mysteries of the faith, and those mysteries should suffuse every aspect of their education.

Our Catholic schools are not immune from the problems facing public education in Nigeria today. But Catholic schools still represent one of the last viable alternatives to an education system that is fast getting out of touch and loosing relevance. We expect our young people, who pass through Veritas University, to emerge as well-rounded individuals who are ready and willing to make a difference in society. In his preface to “The Idea of a University”, John Henry Newman stated that the goal of a Catholic university should be to make its students gentlemen rather than simply to “protect the interests and advance the dominion of science.”

Permit me to conclude by specially congratulating the first set of recipients of Honorary Doctorate Degrees from this noble institution. Of course, as one of the recipients, I am humbled to be in good company with John Cardinal Onaiyekan and Sir Johnson Arumemi Ikhide, who over the course of their lives, have made their mark and distinguished themselves as pacesetters in the educational and aviation sector of Nigeria, respectively. No doubt, this award of Honorary Doctorate Degree is given in recognition of our contributions towards the national development of our dear country, Nigeria. And on behalf of myself and the other recipients, I thank the University Senate and the Governing Council of Veritas University, Abuja for finding us worthy.

Again to our graduands I say the certificate you now merit is because you have been found worthy in character and learning. Remain so in everything you do and where ever you find yourself. As today marks the end of a phase of your formal education, you must realize that in life you never stop learning. And so I urge you to move with the tide, gain new skills and never stop learning and acquiring new knowledge. I wish you well as you navigate the uncertainty of the future that life has in stock for each and every one of you.

May the Holy Spirit of God light up your path as you seek your future. Go and conquer the world but don’t let the world conquer you and rob you of the values acquired here in this fast-growing prestigious Veritas University. God bless you all.Thank you all for your kind attention.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *