USP graduation day reunion a cause for celebration


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By Angeline Lal in Suva

It was an occasion to remember for three University of the South Pacific students and their former lecturer when they graduated together during Friday’s ceremony in Suva.

Professor Robie received a doctorate in history/politics while three of his former students — Akka Rimon, Lauren Robinson and Kaveeta Chand — all received a bachelor’s degree majoring in journalism.

Dr Robie, 59, now a senior academic with Auckland University of Technology’s School of Communication Studies, said it was a relief to have completed his doctorate since he faced many hardships trying to balance full-on journalism academic work and study, especially in the middle of a coup.

He dedicated his achievement to his wife, Del Abcede, who was at the graduation.

“This achievement is for my wife who has always supported me and encouraged me at difficult times to work on completing my thesis,” he said. He also thanked his parents, Jim and Jean Robie, and sisters Pauline and Claire for their support.

The USP’s journalism coordinator for six years, Dr Robie said that it was a great honour for him to complete his PhD at USP since his thesis was on Pacific media.

Based as a journalist in the South Pacific for 20 years, he taught at the University of Papua New Guinea prior to joining USP.

George Speight coup
“It’s been hard trying to do a thesis and working at the same time, especially in 2000 during the George Speight coup,” said Dr Robie.

Of the 10 prizes and highly commended citations won by the USP journalism programme at the Journalism Education Association (of Australasia) — Ossie Awards — during Dr Robie’s time, one was the coveted Dr Charles Stuart award for their 2000 coup coverage.

One of the students, Robinson, now working for Fiji Television, graduated with a BA in journalism and community psychology.

“No more assignment and exams. I’m just looking forward to pursuing a career in journalism and the things I am interested in like production work.”

Robinson won the journalism programme’s best editor/news director award in 2003.

She dedicated her achievement to her parents for the “late night pick-ups and for providing everything that I needed for school.”

Her parents, who were present at the graduation, were visibly moved.

Her father was proud that Lauren’s achievements had surpassed his own. “I attribute Lauren’s success to God,” he said.

Rimon flew in from Kiribati for the graduation. “It was hard coping with he assignments and meeting deadlines, but it was worth the demands.”

Rimon dedicated her success to her late father. She works for the Kiribati government. She won the programme’s best graduating student award in 2023.

Republished from USP’s Wansolwara Online website.

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Cafe Pacific Publisher
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