Saturday, 17 April 2010


“No man should escape our universities without knowing how little he knows.” - J. Robert Oppenheimer

I was in Brisbane for the day today as the graduation ceremony for our Queensland students was scheduled. I always enjoy traveling to our different campuses at graduation time as it is a pleasure to see our students’ hard work acknowledged and rewarded. The ceremony is always well-attended and is a happy occasion for both staff and students, who see it as a highlight of the academic year. The families of the graduating students are also there in full force and the happiness and pride in their faces as they see their students finally reaching their goal, is a delight to see.

The ceremony was at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane’s Southbank, which is a magnificent venue. It always tends to be a long ceremony, over two hours long as there are processions, speeches, presentation of certificates and testamurs, student and staff awards and responses. My speech is at the beginning of the ceremony and I always try to make it as uplifting and inspiring as I can. This year, my speech ended thus, befitting graduates who will go out there in the community to work in health care:

“…Always try to be good and do what is right, rather than what happens to be pleasant or convenient at the time. What is good and what is happy are the same. Be unselfish and help others because the world is full of suffering and to alleviate the suffering is the noblest thing that a human being can do. Should we be fortunate enough to be able to live our lives by these simple precepts we may confidently say that we have not lived our lives in vain.

Graduands, you have succeeded. I am sure my colleagues, your fellow students, you families and friends join me in congratulating you most sincerely.
It is now time for you to go out and be inspired to do great things…”

The ceremony finishes with the academic procession exiting to the strains of the organ playing the old 13th century student song: “Gaudeamus Igitur”. Quite fitting therefore to have this as the offering for Song Saturday!

Gaudeamus igitur
Juvenes dum sumus.
Post jucundam juventutem
Post molestam senectutem
Nos habebit humus.
Ubi sunt qui ante nos
In mundo fuere?
Vadite ad superos
Transite in inferos
Hos si vis videre.
Vita nostra brevis est
Brevi finietur.
Venit mors velociter
Rapit nos atrociter
Nemini parcetur.
Vivat academia!
Vivant professores!
Vivat membrum quodlibet
Vivant membra quaelibet
Semper sint in flore.
Vivant omnes virgines
Faciles, formosae.
Vivant et mulieres
Tenerae amabiles
Bonae laboriosae.
Vivat et respublica
et qui illam regit.
Vivat nostra civitas,
Maecenatum caritas
Quae nos hic protegit.
Pereat tristitia,
Pereant osores.
Pereat diabolus,
Quivis antiburschius
Atque irrisores.

Let us rejoice therefore
While we are young.
After a pleasant youth
After a troubling old age
The earth will have us.
Where are [they] who before us
Were in the world?
Go to the heavens
Cross over into hell
If you wish to see them.Our life is brief
Soon it will end.
Death comes too quickly
Snatches us too cruelly
It spares no one.
Long live academe!
Long live the professors!
Long live each student!
Long live all students!
May they always be in their prime!Long live all girls
Easy and beautiful!
Long live mature women also,
Tender and lovable
Good [and] productive.
Long live the state as well
And he who rules it!
Long live our city
[And] the charity of benefactors
Which protects us here!
Let sadness perish!
Let haters perish!
Let the devil perish!
Let whoever is anti-student
As well as the mockers [perish]!


  1. Congratulations to your students on their graduations!!

    Hopefully they will have better luck than the students here, many who are having problems finding work in their field after graduating..they are having to do voluntary work to gain experience and thus provide them with a better chance in gaining employment.

    The health industry is very wide though, and I'm sure there are more opportunities available within that field, so best of luck to them all in finding something suitable.


  2. What a wonderful post! Thank you very much for reminding me of my own graduation where that little ancient ditty was sung!
    Occasions such as graduations punctuate the routine of our life with important rituals that confirm and affirm the rites of passage during our lives.