RU 5th Commencement – Class of 2021

It was a cold day but it did not dampen the spirits of 450 graduands who were graduating during Riara University’s 5th Commencement ceremony. The day was July 9, 2021. They were all eager to celebrate a great milestone in their lives – being awarded degrees and diplomas.

The event started at 9am with a procession led by the Vice Chancellor, the Deputy Vice Chancellors, the Chancellor and faculty all dressed in their academic regalia. A few graduands who had made outstanding achievements in various fields were invited to attend the ceremony physically. These would be recognised later during the ceremony. 

The emcees of the event were Mike Ogutu and Edith Njage. Edith, an alumni of Class of 2018, wowed with her good emceeing skills. A good choice for an MC to inspire the young graduands who were going out to the world. Edith graduated with BBA Finance with a First Class Honours. She revealed to the guests that she had gone on to set up three companies in 12 African markets. She further revealed that Riara University had opened doors for her to pursue master’s degree abroad. “Being part of RU family has been a life-changing experience. There is nothing like it,” she said. The graduands were, no doubt, inspired by the achievements of their own who studied in the same classrooms as they did and was taught by the same lecturers. It made success seem so tangible. That Edith was already creating jobs for others was a great achievement too. If she could do it in a span of three years after graduating, why not them?

The day was well-planned and executed.  Albeit a virtual graduation, those not physically present were part and parcel of the happenings on campus. At the beginning of the ceremony, the MCs welcomed everyone – those physically present and those following the event virtually. A huge screen displayed the images of the graduands following the event online. The MC invited those following online to make a contribution in the hashtags of the day which were #Class of2021, #Beunlimited and #RUready. There were also two trivia questions to be answered online. The questions were: In what year was RU founded? In what year did the VC Prof Robert Gateru join the winning team? There were amazing prizes for the winners and no doubt this encouraged participation by the online community. The event was also streamed live on NTV and on YouTube and there was an outpouring of likes and messages of congratulations to the Class of 2021.

The entertainment was electric. 2018 LLB alumnus, Sheila Juma, thrilled the crowd with her song titled, ‘Faithfulness’. In her performance, she appreciated God’s favours and faithfulness that saw the graduands complete their studies. The second performance of the day was by Abinash Deep who showcased his prowess on the guitar. The graduands, faculty and guests sang and danced, which kept them warm as the temperatures kept dipping.

The Riara University Radio of the Department of Communication and Multimedia Journalism demonstrated their skills by showcasing the Big Up podcast to celebrate the graduands for this great milestone.

The students who had made great achievements along the way in their academic journey were recognised. The valedictorian, Mitchell Wambui In her speech, revealed she was graduating the same day with her brother, Mathew Mbelenga, who was following the proceedings virtually. There were shouts of joy and jubilation from the crowd in appreciation of the two. Miracle Iphraim, who delivered the second valedictorian speech, appreciated RU for the education he had received.  

During the event, speaker after speaker lauded the graduands for their resilience and determination to complete their studies despite the challenges occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic. This was the university’s second virtual graduation in a row. The first was held in May 2020, the first lot after Covid-19 struck in Kenya two months earlier. Riara University was the first to hold a virtual graduation in the country in the year 2020.

The Chancellor, Dr. Wilfred Kiboro, thanked the parents for the supervision role of the students who studied at home when the pandemic struck. He urged the students to go out and innovate as they would encounter more challenges in the world of work. Dr. Kiboro also challenged the government and the corporate sector to help in creating jobs for the graduands. “The government has a moral obligation to support these young people to find employment or support them in creating jobs for themselves,” he said. He added that the government should help the youth by being more purposeful and creating an enabling environment like extending tax incentives for start-ups.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Robert Gateru, congratulated the class of 2021 for their achievement. He urged the graduands to prepare for challenges out there, as they left RU. He reminded them that even the king of the jungle is not successful in every hunt. Sometimes it loses and sometimes it succeeds in its hunts. The same, he said, should be expected as the graduands start looking for jobs and working.

Then came the moment they were all waiting for. The graduands were awarded degrees and diplomas with each dean from every school reading out their names one by one. The photos of the graduands were also displayed on the screen one after the other. It was a moment of joy not just for the graduands but also for the entire RU fraternity, the parents and guardians. To crown it, those present took to the floor for a dance to celebrate their success. 

Indeed the Riara University #Classof2021 had a commencement of its kind

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