UTAR celebrates its 24th Convocation

Graduands marching their way to Dewan Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik 

UTAR Registrar Yim Lin Heng leading the Chancellor’s procession

“As you prepare to immerse in your career, do take note of the impending changes in the world that will ultimately affect us all in Malaysia. It is evident that we are entering or perhaps have already stepped foot into the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This revolution is the digital revolution that will enable more technological breakthroughs in the years to come,” said UTAR President Ir Prof Academician Dato’ Dr Chuah Hean Teik at the recently held UTAR 24th Convocation at the Dewan Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik in UTAR Kampar Campus from 18 to 19 March 2017.

Prof Chuah delivering his convocation speech

He added, “The World Economic Forum reported education as being one of the key drivers in this revolution. It is understandable because education is the starting point for every student to acquire the knowledge and skills needed for the modern workplace. And it does not only impart students with one skill, but with multiple transferable skills so that they can obtain sustainable, long-term careers even as they work across different industries.”

Prof Chuah advised the graduands, “‘Change’ is what you must ponder on in order for you to progress in your career. You constantly need to assess your performance and adapt to changes in management, technology, processes, systems, company culture and goals. You can no longer be looking forward to set routines as when you were a student. You will evolve from a student to a career professional and from there perhaps to an entrepreneur or senior manager, and at every stage you will use different skillsets and you have to evolve to be better than before.”  

Graduands and their parents at the UTAR 24th Convocation

A total of 2,628 graduands from 86 programmes comprising 65 Bachelor (Honours) degree, 16 Master’s degree and five PhD programmes received their convocation scrolls in four sessions held over the two-day period. The Convocation also celebrated the academic accomplishments of the pioneer batches of graduates from the following programmes: Master of Psychology (Industrial and Organisational Psychology) from Faculty of Arts and Social Science (FAS), Bachelor of Education (Honours) Primary English Education from FAS, and Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Electronics (Computer Networking) from Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science.

Of the 2,628 graduands, nine received their PhDs, 66 received their Master’s degree and 41 received their Honours Degree with Distinction, while the rest received their Bachelor Honours with Merit and Bachelor Honours degree. The Convocation also saw UTAR former Council Chairman Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik being installed as UTAR’s first Chancellor, and UTAR’s Council-cum-Education Foundation Board of Trustees Member Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Ting Chew Peh being appointed as UTAR’s new Council Chairman.

Tan Sri Ting (left) presenting the certificate of appointment as UTAR Chancellor to Tun Ling

Tun Ling declaring the opening of Session One of the Convocation

The Convocation was declared open by UTAR Chancellor Tun Ling. UTAR Council Chairman Tan Sri Ting, Prof Chuah, and other UTAR Council and Education Foundation Board of Trustees members were also present at the ceremony.

Guests of Honour, clockwise from top left: Dato’ Seri Ong, Tan Sri Tan, Rosemary Tan and Dato’ Anwar

The Guests of Honour for the four sessions of the Convocation were Minister of Transport and President of Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) Dato’ Sri Liow Tiong Lai represented by UTAR Council Member-cum-Minister of International Trade and Industry II Dato’ Seri Ong Ka Chuan for Session One, Chairman of Tungling Group Tan Sri Tan Koon Swan for Session Two, Director of Right Livelihood College (RLC) Dato’ (Dr) Anwar Fazal for Session Three, and Founder and Creative Director of Palam Mesra Sdn Bhd Rosemary Tan Mei Ling for Session Four. The scroll presenters for Session One to Session Four were UTAR Council Member Dato’ Seri Ong, UTAR Council Chairman Tan Sri Ting and UTAR Council Member Dato’ Dr Lim Khaik Leang, UTAR Education Foundation Board of Trustees Member Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Lee Oi Hian, and UTAR Council Member Hew Fen Yee respectively.

Dato’ Seri Ong presenting the scroll to Doctor of Philosophy (Chinese Studies) graduate Dr Lai

Tan Sri Ting presenting the scroll to Accounting graduate Chee Chu-Yin

Dato’ Lim presenting the scroll to Chemical Engineering graduate Chia Min Yan

Tan Sri Lee presenting the scroll to Entrepreneurship graduate Yong Say Fong

Hew presenting the scroll to Finance graduate Grace Anne Mak Zhi Hui

Tun Ling, in his introduction of UTAR, elaborated on how the public community contributed towards the setting up of UTAR and the journey taken to raise funds for UTAR. He also introduced the guest of honour for each convocation session and congratulated the graduates on their outstanding accomplishments.

He advised the graduates to embark on a new journey in the world of work. He added, “Change and changes are inevitable. Changes in our daily routines and in the physical, social, cultural and economic environments force us to make critical and logical decisions to accommodate these changes.” Before Tun Ling ended his speech, he quoted the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw who said, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world while the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.”

In representing the Minister of Transport-cum-MCA President Dato’ Sri Liow Tiong Lai, Dato’ Seri Ong enthused, “Brace yourself for the future, a future where technology, skills and knowledge are constantly evolving. With the need for a more knowledge-based economy, the demand for education has risen to another level. Education is the cornerstone of our country’s economic development and social progress. Nowadays, the focus of education is not just on producing literate workers, but especially on workers who can adapt to the speed at which new skills must be acquired to face challenges of the market.”

He added, “Malaysia’s future success depends on the quality of its human capital, not only in terms of intellect but also character. Therefore, integrity and ethical values are aspects that everyone should uphold and cultivate. This is in line with the Government’s aspiration towards making Malaysia a developed nation which is not only economically, scientifically and technologically progressive, but also advanced in the social, cultural, intellectual and spiritual aspects.”

Tan Sri Tan inspired the graduands saying, “One of the key ingredients for realising your utmost potential in life is to acquire the habit of monitoring your attitude and its impact on your work performance, relationships and everyone around. It governs the way you perceive the world and the way the world perceives you. All of us live in a world full of choices and we can choose an inner dialogue of self-encouragement and self-motivation, or we can choose one of self-defeat and self-pity. It is a power we all have within us as each of us encounters hard times, hurt feelings, heartache and physical and emotional pain. The key is to realise that it is not what has happened to you that matters, but how you choose to respond to those circumstances that truly matter.”

Dato’ Anwar Fazal said, “We live in a world that is described often as in crisis as never before. The planet is described as being in multiple crises – there are five and they all begin with “E”, namely ‘A crisis in Economy’, ‘A crisis in Ecology’, ‘A crisis in Equity’, ‘A crisis in Excellence’, and ‘A crisis in Empathy’. The Chinese word for ‘Crisis’, I am reminded, is made up of two characters: ‘Danger’ and ‘Opportunity’. Your journey will be fraught with danger as well as opportunities. What are the opportunities? I suggest three of them, forming a triangle. The first is to be a champion of the Culture of Peace: Peace with Yourself, Peace with the Environment/Mother Earth and Peace with Others. We need to build a caring society and we need to nurture a shared humanity. The second is to always be a Visionary to build a better world and the third is the Culture of Integrity. The world is full of corruption, lies and deception and we need to fight them. There is a wonderful hall in the Yeoh Kongsi in Penang. It is known as the Four Knows Hall. The name comes from a story where a sage was told by someone who was going to do an evil and corrupt deed who said, ‘Don’t worry, no one will know.’ The sage replied, ‘Don’t say no one knows – the Heaven knows, the earth knows, you know and I know.’ We must remember that values are more important than so-called valuables.”

In her speech, Rosemary Tan elucidated, “My secret of success is to take a LEAP. The first letter ‘L’ stands for learning and you youngsters, just keep learning. Be curious, ask questions and continue to learn for the sake of learning. Bill Gates’s secret to success is ‘no matter what you spend your time doing in life, you should never stop asking questions; never stop learning. Whether you are an entrepreneur or a doctor or a software developer, it is only by increasing your understanding of the world around you that you will be able to have a significant impact.’ ‘E’ stands for engaging the world. Use what you learn, do it, try it, try to get involved, and volunteer. I learnt that empowerment is to teach people to fish instead giving them a fish. It is so much more distinguishing and respected and the capacity to impact people’s lives is much greater. ‘A’ is for aspire. Aim high, dream, have a vision to strive towards and don’t collapse. Success for me is not what I see in others but what I want to strive for. ‘P’ stands for proactive. Take risks, try to be an initiator and have fun doing them.”

Tun Ling (left) conferring the Honorary Doctorate Degree (Doctor of Science) to Dato’ Dr Lim

The Convocation also witnessed the conferment of the Honorary Doctorate Degree (Doctor of Science) to UTAR Council Member Dato’ Dr Lim Khaik Leang for his exceptional contributions and leadership in the field of science.

Fourth from left: Prof Chuah and Dato’ Seri Ong with some graduates

K. Vidhiyavaani, a graduate of Bachelor of Education (Hons) Primary English Education, said, “It has been a life-changing experience pursuing the five year programme in Primary English Education. I came to love teaching and grew to adore children after signing up for this course. Children are interesting as they are innocent and they have made me realise that teaching is, in fact, a noble profession.” She is now teaching at a Chinese school in Sitiawan while awaiting her posting from the Ministry of Education.

Another high achiever was Dr Lai Choy @ Lai Yoke Choy, a graduate of Doctor of Philosophy (Chinese Studies) from the Institute of Chinese Studies. He said, “Despite being 76 years old, I believe in lifelong learning and my education in UTAR has helped me to be more open minded. I’m able to understand the younger generations better. I have become more knowledgeable and the journey has really made me into an erudite person. I hope I can be an example to others that education is not limited by age and I would like to encourage the juniors and other youngsters to pursue lifelong learning and work hard as well as smart to achieve their goals.”

Graduating with an honours degree, Bachelor of Communication (Hons) Public Relations graduate Heong Kian Kee said, “UTAR’s education has nurtured me with design thinking and problem solving skills. The programme has taught me critical thinking and analytical skills, which are important factors that have allowed me to propel further. The knowledge received is indeed helpful and practical.” Heong was one of the 24 handpicked participants who represented UTAR and Malaysia for the Southeast Asian Global Undergraduate Leadership Programme (SEAGULL) in 2015. Talking about that experience, Heong said, “The SEAGULL was a constructive platform for me to gain a unique out-of-classroom learning experience that has broadened my horizons, and provided me the confidence, independence, skills, and global competitiveness to be a future leader. Therefore, I would like to thank UTAR for who I am today and the skills that I will cherish for a lifetime.”

With the addition of 2,628 graduates from this 24th Convocation, the number of the university’s alumni now stands at 48,055 since its inaugural convocation in 2005.

Graduates throwing their mortarboards in the air

Myanmar national and Information Systems Engineering graduate Myat Noe Win with her family members

Financial Economics graduate Cheng Jia Yein with her family members and grandparents

International graduates (from left) Myat and Hla Lunn Shwe with other international students of UTAR

Graphic Design and Multimedia graduate Michelle Theresa Pinto with her family members

From left: Psychology student Rebecca Pang Sing Vun and Foundation student Veronica Pang Syn Ni singing Sejahtera Malaysia

Microbiology alumna Yang Shun Kai performing One Moment in Time

Chemistry student Lim Vi Xuen and Finance student Tay Jor Jun singing The Shining Light

Chemistry student Tan Ie Huang singing the Zhu Fu

From left: Marketing graduate Foo Ching Lin, Evelyn and Yang performing Sejahtera Malaysia and The Shining Light

Foo performing a solo Chinese song titled Zhu Ni Yi Lu Shun Feng

From left: Sing Vun, Syn Ni and Construction Management student Richard Desmond Yii performing You Raise Me Up

Chinese studies student Lam Phui Yee singing the Zhang Sheng Xiang Chi

From left: Grace Anne, Chemistry graduate Tan Boon Han and Yang singing The Shining Light and Sejahtera Malaysia 

Grace Anne singing When You Believe

Graduates of Institute of Chinese Studies smiling with their professors


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