Be ready for the unexpected, VIPs tell proud group
AT the Royal St Andrews Hotel it was smiles all the way at last Friday’s Stenden graduation ceremony where a record number of students graduated with BCom degrees in hospitality management.
A total of 49 students – plus their families and friends – gathered at the hotel to be capped Stenden’s graduation class of 2016.
Rainbow Towers Hotel general manager in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Fungai Mutseyekwa was the keynote speaker. “Be ready to face the unexpected,” Mutseyekwa said. He recalled an incident where, as a young man in the hospitality business, he had been asked a question about service. “I said that the problem was the lack of equipment in the kitchen. The man in charge shouted down at me and asked what that had to do with service. I was very worried for my job at the time, but I had meant what I said.”
A while later Mutseyekwa was actually promoted, so realised his comments had shown he was unafraid to speak his mind. “You need to live by your convictions,” he told the anxious students. “But you’d better be right.” Mutseyekwa reminded the students to remain resolute and to focus on their goals. “You never stop learning,” he said. “The world is changing so quickly.”
The previous manager of Stenden South Africa, now the head of sites for Stenden University worldwide, Wayne Johnson, delivered a very lively and amusing address that called for respect and dedication from students if they are to achieve their goals. “Having a passion for the work you do is critical,” Johnson said.
Before both speakers, Ndlambe mayor Sipho Tandani showed the students that he was also currently studying toward his Master’s degree, and that every person present should always be prepared to learn.
Vice-president of the executive board of Stenden University, Klaas-Wybo van der Hoek discussed the importance of internationalisation, and the fact that Stenden campuses were located at strategic points around the globe, and that students were encouraged to move to different environments and mix with different cultures.
Stenden’s executive dean Dr Wouter Hensens also addressed the students and gave statistics as to how previous Stenden graduates had done better than the average in their search for quality jobs and career opportunities. “We are all privileged to be here,” Hensens SAID. “But being privileged does not imply elitism. You graduates now have an opportunity to explore your potential.”
Academic dean for the hotel management school at Stenden South Africa, Dr Julia Chipumuro, assisted by Hensens and Johnson, then conferred the degrees on the students.
Throughout the evening, education support manager Ronel Bartlett, kept order as the master of ceremonies.
After the ceremony the students, family and friends were invited to spend the rest of the evening at the hotel in its much improved garden area where a buffet of fine foods, including a chocolate fountain, were available.