‘What a year’: polytech graduation goes ahead at last

Third time was the charm for Megan Gibbons.

After two previous attempts, the Otago Polytechnic chief executive was finally able to give her graduation address at yesterday’s polytechnic graduation ceremony at the Dunedin Town Hall.

"It gives me great pleasure to address you all today, just over 12 months into the role of chief executive. All I can say is, what a year.

Otago Polytechnic bachelor of nursing graduands (from left) Millie MacGibbon, Sophie Hooker,...
Otago Polytechnic bachelor of nursing graduands (from left) Millie MacGibbon, Sophie Hooker, Jessica Faulks and Becky Paterson (all 21) celebrate during their graduation parade in George St yesterday. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
"This is the third time I have revised and rewritten what I am saying today, following the graduation cancellation in December [2020] due to the threats to safety, and then Covid in Auckland in March. We are finally here.

"This has been the first and second time in the history of the institution that graduation has been postponed, so thank you for hanging in there, and enjoy your day."

Dr Gibbons spoke at length about her personal journey through the education system, and used it to encourage the graduands to continue their learning and keep their minds open.

"We live in a world of change.

"In education, we are in the business of reflection, critical thinking and self-assessment.

"These highlights today point out that I was brought up to believe and value the people around me, particularly whanau, that gender is no barrier, that education is a way forward, that success comes with hard work, failure or disappointment makes you stronger and more resilient, and that you can’t always see the whole picture.

"So as graduates of Otago Polytechnic, use the skills you have been taught and reflect on your journey so far.

"What have you learnt? How will you use this to become leaders in your fields, influence others or use it as a stepping stone? What are your values, and how do you live them and demonstrate them to others?

"Keep learning. Education doesn’t stop with the piece of paper that you will leave with today."

More than 280 graduands who were unable to cross the stage in December or March, graduated yesterday, along with another 2200 people who graduated in absentia.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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