By Millicent Ifeanyichukwu
Nexford University (NXU), a next-generation online university based in Washington DC, U.S., has awarded five Nigerian students for being outstanding in academics and character during its 2023 graduation event.
Speaking at the ceremony held on Saturday at the Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, Fadl Al Tarzi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NXU, said that the institution was very proud of Nigerian learners.
While Daniel Oreofe was awarded the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year, Sonter James emerged the Outstanding Brand Ambassador.
Accolades filled the air as James Ogo-Oluwa Osinowo was awarded the Valedictorian of the Year for Class 2023 having bagged a 4.0 CGPA alongside over 40 other Nigerians.
Announcing the awardees for the Class of 2023, Nexford’s Community Development Manager, Sally Okogho, noted that 42 Nigerian students graduated with a 4.0 CGPA (distinction) out of the 622 graduates.
Tarzi, who described Nigerian students as resilient, said they valued education of which had distinguished and placed them higher across the world.
The NXU CEO also urged the graduates to showcase their superior skills to the world, adding that Nigerians in the U.S. were, on the average, twice as educated as the average American.
“ It is time for you to ascend to leadership, redefine perceptions, and engrave your marks on societies, whether here in Nigeria or beyond your borders.
“ If your journey takes you to foreign lands, remember, you are the architects of perceptions, the ambassadors of our values.
“ Make those lands realise the privilege of hosting Nigerian talents, showcase your superior skills and let the world witness the value you add, and the legacy you create,” he added.
Speaking, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, a former Minister of Education, said academic institutions like Nexford would help Nigeria fix human capital deficiencies.
According to Ezekwesili, who is a Board Member of NXU, the university is one of the global institutions that has visibly given the skills that are necessary for the 21st century.
“ If we increase our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and we spread the sources of our GDP, what we will have is inclusive prosperity, so we must have graduates of this kind from as many institutions as possible,” she noted.
Similarly, Tonye Cole, Co-founder/former Group Executive Director, Sahara Group, in his keynote address, urged the graduates to expect challenges as they move to the next phase of life.
“ Do not be afraid to fail, even when you do, start again, try again and retrace your steps and be courageous for every success story has stories to tell.
“You have to decide on your own but you must seek wisdom to guide your steps, this is key because it is what you need to navigate the world and keep your eyes on your goal.
“ Again, do not be afraid to fail, even when you do, start again, try again and retrace your steps and be courageous for every success story has stories to tell.
“ I know a lot of people would like to run away (Japa), but that’s not going to solve the problem, we have challenges here in Nigeria, and those challenges are opportunities,” he added.
The valedictorian, James Osinowo, in his speech, narrated how Nexford University inculcated resilience, teamwork and perseverance in the learners.
According to him, the university exposes students to “possibilities and opportunities”.
Osinowo said: “Immediately I completed my MBA in January 2023, the following month saw me receiving an offer for the role of Group Finance Manager and it’s just the beginning.
“One of the important lessons we’ve learned during our time here is the power of resilience. We’ve faced demanding assignments and tests, grueling projects and sleepless nights, yet we persevered,” he said.
The graduation ceremony also witnessed master classes, a career fair with Nigeria’s leading companies, a start-up demo and an exhibition.
During the start-up pitches and exhibition, seasoned experts like Iyin Aboyeji of Future Africa, and Napa Onwusah, Leader for AWS Startups in Africa among others tutored the graduates.
The master class sessions centred on building and scaling a startup, designing a fulfilling career, becoming globally relevant, sales skills for founders and succeeding in a remote job environment. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Vivian Ihechu