The Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland (MI) honoured its class of 2009 Friday with a graduation ceremony in the gymnasium of the main campus on Ridge Road in St. John’s. Graduates, their families and MI faculty and staff were in attendance to witness the presentation of advanced diplomas, diplomas and certificates.
“It is always an honour to see our students on graduation day and I am thrilled to be a part of this ceremony every year,” said Glenn Blackwood, executive director, Marine Institute. “These graduates are on the verge of exciting and meaningful careers in the oceans sector and should be very proud of their accomplishments. They now have the skills and training to not only work in the oceans and marine industries, but also become leaders in a sector that will play a pivotal role in the future of our province.”
Participating in the graduation ceremony were the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador; Dr. Eddy Campbell, acting president, Memorial University; Robert Simmonds, chair, Memorial University Board of Regents and Captain Sid Hynes, Chair of the Marine Institute’s Industry Advisory Committee.
“It was great to see so many people who have supported us in the past come out today to pay tribute to our graduates,” Mr. Blackwood said. “Our industry partners, members of government and of course, Dr. Campbell, have all played a hand in helping to make the Marine Institute Canada’s leading centre of fisheries and marine training.”
The graduation ceremony was emceed by Gary Green, Guidance/Student Affairs Officer, Marine Institute. Minister Hedderson and Dr. Campbell also spoke at the event, with Mr. Blackwood serving as the ceremony’s featured speaker. He encouraged the graduates to feel proud of what they have accomplished at MI and also for what they are sure to achieve now that their careers are about to take off.
“Our province is on the brink of several major breakthroughs and developments in the oceans and marine industries, and I know the graduates sitting in this room today are going to play pivotal roles in making these advancements come to fruition,” Mr. Blackwood told the graduating students.
During the next decade, someone among you will be the first person to transfer oil from the Hebron offshore oilfield; history shows us it will be a graduate of our Nautical Science Program. One of you is someday going to navigate the Northwest Passage. A graduate sitting here today from our Food Technology program will one day use his or her training to avert a major food safety issue. One of you is going to go on to design Newfoundland and Labrador’s first official research vessel. One of our ROV pilots is going to be responsible for locating the Southern Cross or The Franklin.”
Mr. Blackwood also took time to pay tribute to Dr. Campbell, who was oversaw his last Marine Institute graduation as acting president of Memorial University. Dr. Campbell’s time as acting president concludes at the end of August.
“Dr. Campbell has done an excellent job of positioning Memorial as one of the leading universities in the country,” said Mr. Blackwood. “We have worked together to ensure the Marine Institute achieved its goals and stayed on the path toward becoming a world oceans institute.”
Following the presentation of advanced diplomas, diplomas and certificates, James Hayes took to the podium to give the students’ address. Hayes, who received a diploma of technology in marine engineering, spoke of the many opportunities that await him as a result of graduating from a highly respected institution like MI.
“Throughout my tenure at the Marine Institute, I have always felt comfortable and confident about my choice to pursue a career in the marine sector,” said Mr. Hayes. “The small class sizes and teachers that have years of field experience greatly attribute to the success of graduates from various programs. The Marine Institute has given me some of the best education and training available. Considering there is a major demand in the marine industry for qualified officers, my training will surely enable me to excel and be a valuable and sought-after asset to many respected companies and organizations.”
The Marine Institute also released its Annual Review 2008-09 at the ceremony, unveiling a publication that provides insight into the programs and applied research that help make MI a leader in ocean technology and development. The 2008-09 Annual Review, entitled Unlocking our Ocean of Opportunity, can be read online at www.mi.mun.ca/annualreview.
The 2009 MI graduation was also shown on a live webcast, marking the first time the Marine Institute made the ceremony accessible online. The graduation in its entirety can be watched at www.mi.mun.ca/graduation