Omedeto Gozaimasu Tama Sii Tonga.
Ph.D (Permanent Head Damage) Crew : It's so serious we can't even tell time. The watches are just fashion accessories.
Congratulations to our brother and collegue Vili or may I say Dr Viliami Uasike Latu. Our little Island community is extremely proud of what this son of the Pacific has achieved. He is the very first person to graduate with a Doctorate degree from our University.
The Graduate School opened in April 2003 and we were the first ones (yay I'm part of history...yeah rite) there was only 11 of us undertaking Masters then, 2 doing their MBA's and 3 in the Ph.D program Vili, and two other Japanese students Ai Sasaki and Toru??. Ai had her baby in 2004 and took a year off for maternity leave. Toru had to go back to work don't know much beyond that. So Vili had to tough it out by himself.
With no clear guidance and very limited financial help for research and the likes (yes yes we are APU's very own guinea pigs but are ok with it) Vili with the help of his supervisor Prof Mani, persevered and now has successfully completed the program. He is an inspiration to us all and God willing we hope and pray we can emulate his success.
Vili's final hurdle (last requirement) was his oral defence yesterday. After 3 gruelling hours he emerged exhausted but victorious.
The benchmark has been set, the path has been walked
I can only imagine how happy he must be, and his happy mood was so contagious for a while I forgot about the sad cloud that has been hovering over me since I learned of the passing of my friend Raponi. For a time all was right with the world again.
God Bless you bro. Will miss you when u return home but await your return for your graduation in September. We will be there to witness the official recognition of your proud achievement. A first for APU! The "P" (Pacific) always comes after the "A" (Asia) but this time thanks to you it has coveted first place.
"Malo le finau!"