By Sr. Mufaro Chakuinga LCBL
782 students graduated from the Catholic University of Zimbabwe on 14 April 2023 at the institution’s campus in Harare. The ceremony was graced by the Papal Nuncio to Zimbabwe, Archbishop Paolo Rudelli, the Chancellor of the Catholic University, Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndlovu, other bishops, priests, religious and parents of the graduands.
The Catholic University witnessed the graduation of its first ever doctoral graduates, one woman and two men in three different disciplines, namely Development Studies, Business Management and Information Technology.
Of the 782 graduating students, 719 were conferred with degrees while 63 received diplomas. This year’s figure of graduands surpasses last year’s figure by over 200 and was the largest in the history of the Catholic University.
The institute also witnessed the capping of the University’s first Master of Theology graduates, a historical class with ministers of religion from various Christian denominations including one Catholic priest, Fr. Johane Maseko who is the National Coordinator for the Zimbabwe Catholic Commission for the Laity who becomes the first Catholic priest to earn a Masters Degree in Theology from the institution.
In his speech, Professor Zinyemba saluted the graduands for their hard work and encouraged them to remain committed.
‘’We salute our graduands for demonstrating resilience and commitment, your graduation marks the culmination of years of hard work and determination and the beginning of a new chapter in your lives, one that is filled with endless possibilities and opportunities,’’ said Professor Zinyemba.
Professor Zinyemba reminded the graduands to embrace the values they learnt at the University and encouraged them to be torchbearers of Catholic Social Teachings.
‘’Remember that the University has provided you with the tools to succeed, embrace these values that this institution has instilled in you, ethical behaviour, excellence, commitment, collegiality, service, intellectual rigor, empathy, inclusion and a commitment to make a difference. The values you learnt at this university do not include substance abuse, drugs, debauchery, crime, hate and intolerance,’’ Professor Zinyemba said.
The Catholic University is growing from strength to strength as witnessed by both academic and infrastructural developments taking place at the institution. Recently the University launched a number of new programmes which were approved by the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE). The programmes include Bachelor of Science Honours in Environmental Science, Bachelor of Science Honours in Rural Development and Food Security and Bachelor of Science Honours in Child Protection and Care.
The Institute also launched the Blended Online Learning and Teaching platform (BOLT) a learning management system designed to reach students beyond our borders and those within Zimbabwe who may find it difficult to study through any one of the conventional traditional modes of instruction and learning. It is a long-distance teaching and learning tool which is appropriate in this technology embracing environment. The Catholic University is rolling out the programme across all faculties that students have the option to learn conventionally during the day or in parallel evening classes, block lessons as well as BOLT- online, self-paced learning.
Another first that the Institute have in the historical graduation is the graduation of the University’s first group of thirty-five lay Catholics graduating with a Bachelor of Theology Honours Degree from Holy Trinity College including a sizeable number from St. Gerards Parish.