Despite another year of uncertainties and disruptions caused by the ongoing pandemic, Fulton Adventist University College in Suva, Fiji, held a graduation service near the end of 2021, in a ceremony that saw 163 students celebrate the completion of their tertiary studies.
Graduates ranged from ministerial, business, and education students to police officers and tertiary lecturers. Along with their testamurs, students received special recognition for academic excellence, service, biblical languages, public evangelism, teaching skills, entrepreneurial excellence, and overall outstanding achievements.
Guest speakers for the graduation weekend were graduating class staff advisor Casper Hillary, Trans-Pacific Union Mission (TPUM) president Maveni Kaufononga, and Fiji Institute of Accountants president Pravinesh Singh.
Each of the speakers presented a special message related to the graduation’s theme, “Triumph Over Adversity,” reflecting on the challenges faced by students and staff in the past year.
“We had students and staff infected with COVID, challenges as they participated in online classes and exams, the development of innovative virtual practicum experiences, coping with the uncertainties of closed borders and unknown employment opportunities, as well as concerns for family and loved ones back home,” Fulton principal Malcolm Coulson said. “Twenty twenty-one was a tough year, but we saw God’s leading in all the issues we faced.”
All celebratory events followed a carefully prepared COVID-19-safe plan authorized by government officials.
“We were permitted to hold graduation under strict health requirements. Those attending were fully vaccinated, screened, masked, and participated in contact tracing protocols,” Coulson explained.
Due to the limitations on the number of attendees, the events were livestreamed on Facebook by Hope Channel Fiji, reaching more than 36,000 views.
“We are grateful to the TPUM for assisting Fulton with the broadcasting of the graduation program. The livestream has blessed many people who could not attend in person,” Coulson said.
Over the course of the weekend, several programs were supported by student singing groups and speakers who shared testimonies. Appreciation for the work of all staff for their commitment to service under adversity was expressed repeatedly.
“Highlights also included the graduation banquet, which was catered by our very own food services manager, Raijeli Vuloaloa, and team; not forgetting the amazing burgundy and gold-themed outfits of the students and staff,” Coulson said.