Every year, convocations the world-over celebrate the achievements of graduating classes, and present unto them the accolades of their hard work. Often, those achievements are the results of years of choices, whether in ambition, in places of study or even in the work ethic necessary to reach the pinnacle of a student’s potential. The graduating class of 2020 understand this truth more than most, as they battled unprecedented challenges to the completion of their undergraduate degrees, on account of the chaos of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Royal Institute of Colombo (RIC) pays tribute to their dignified and unsullied fortitude. These graduates pay credence to the words of Virgil; “come what may, all bad fortune is to be conquered by endurance”. In enduring, they indeed chose themselves.
Commencement of the Ceremony
The 23rd Annual Convocation Ceremony of RIC was held at BMICH on 26 February 2021. The ceremony was held in two sessions, a novel effort made in consideration of public health guidelines. The Law programme proceedings were held in the first session for 113 LLB and LLM graduands. The second session was held for the BSc. Graduates/ Certificate of Higher Education in Social Science (CHESS) Recipients/ Diplomates of the University of London (UoL) programmes and Deakin University – Australia, which had the participation of 97 graduands from the Economics, Management, Finance and Social Sciences (EMFSS), 48 students (CHESS) programme and 24 students from the Deakin STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programme.
Leading the Procession
Addressing the eminent gathering of all the graduands, parents and esteemed dignitaries of the ceremony, Dr. Nirodha Bandara – the Academic Director in her welcome note applauded the hard work and determination of the students in completing their studies, despite the challenging times. The graduation ceremony witnessed the gracious presence of Hon. Justice A. H. M. D Nawaz, Justice of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka as the Chief Guest for the Law session and Deshamanya Prof. Emeritus W. D. Lakshman, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka as the Chief Guest for the EMFSS session.
Recognizing the remarkable RIC Achievers
The occasion witnessed high spirit of the students as they graduated with flying colours amidst the blessings of their family and the faculty members. Among this year’s graduating batch, 5 law students received the Certificates of Excellence for achieving the top 3 marks in a module globally; 3 law students received the Level 4 Achievement Award; 5 BSc/CHESS students received Three Country Prizes (the highest performer in Sri Lanka, Pakistan & India); 11 BSc/CHESS students received the Letter of Commendation and 5 best performers as recipients for the Academic Achievement Award on their degree/diploma programme. Moreover, 13 brilliant EMFSS students were the recipients of the Highest Marks Worldwide Award. This year, a new ‘Special Topper Award’ was introduced by UoL to honour 5 RIC students who scored highest marks in Mathematics globally. Ms. Nethma Atapattu – a BSc. Economics and Finance student was the RIC Valedictorian 2021. This year’s Student of the Year award was presented to Ms. Aysha Sameeha Siddeek – an LLB student at RIC.
Notable Remarks from the Chief Guests
Delivering the convocation address to the Law graduands, the Chief Guest – Hon. Justice A. H. M. D Nawaz shared his unique words of wisdom with the budding lawyers and attorneys of the future, reminiscing about his past as a lecturer at RIC. He emphasized on the need to engage in lifelong learning not only of the law but many other disciplines to keep sharpen your thinking ability.
The Chief Guest for the EMFSS session- Prof. Emeritus W. D. Lakshman shed light on RIC’s journey as a pioneer institute with humble beginnings, conducting classes for the external degree programmes of the University of Peradeniya, where he had once been a student himself, to becoming a world-class education provider with strong affiliations with UoL and Deakin university in the present day. While congratulating the new graduates, the Central Bank Governor reminded them of their role in shaping the future of the nation.
Virtual Messages from the Overseas Academic Dignitaries
This year, the convocation ceremony was attended virtually by the esteemed dignitaries of the UoL and Deakin University. The UoL dignitaries shared across their messages to congratulate the graduands. Rev’d. Simon Askey – Dean, Undergraduate Laws of the UoL and Prof. Mary Stiasny, Pro-Vice Chancellor (International) of the UoL International Programmes expressed his heartiest congratulations to the graduands and joined in their moment of glory.
Dr. James Abdey – Assistant Professorial Lecturer at the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) also shared that their efforts are a source of great pride for both the graduands and the faculty at RIC, and is further a positive reflection of the sense of community at RIC. Further highlighting on 30 years of delivering the UoL programmes in Sri Lanka, he affirmed that RIC has grown to be one of LSE’s top performing teaching centers around the world. He congratulated the students on completion of their significant milestone from the institution that shares a long-standing history with the LSE.
Special Remarks from the Chairman
Mr. G.T. Bandara – the Chairman of the Royal Institute of Colombo in his special address emphasized on the importance of taking control of one’s own life while moving ahead in the new era of personal freedom. Sharing several instances from his own life experiences, Mr. Bandara highlighted on the need of one’s determination to succeed despite the countless futile efforts that one may encounter along the way. He concluded with a note of best wishes to the graduating batch of 2020 with a word of advice for the students: “Set the right goals that align with your personal values and continue to provide long-term results. Instead of working for financial success, find your passion that provides you the opportunity to improve the lives of others.”