556 students get their scrolls on first day of UTAR's 38th convocation


KAMPAR: Educating her 67-year- old grandmother to reduce her salt and sugar intake was one of the most challenging tasks for Nur Sabrina Mohammad Sarthar Khan.

The 24-year-old lass from Ipoh said it took her about three months to persuade her grandmother and other family members to eat healthy.

Nur Sabrina said that initially, her family members had told her that there was no point in eating anything if it did not have salt or sugar.

“They told me regardless of their eating habits, everyone is going to die one day and that it was best just to eat openly.

“But I did not give up because I know for a fact that diet can help make a person healthier and happier.

“One of my greatest achievements is Seeing my family drastically reduce their salt and sugar intake and avoid oily and fried food,” said Nur Sabrina, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science (honours) in Dietetics from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) on Friday (March 8).

She was among the 556 students who graduated on the first day of UTAR's 38th convocation ceremony held at the Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik hall here.

Friends Goodhope Hance Mkaro, 42, and Justus Gratian Mwemezi, 41, from Tanzania, who both graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), said back in their home country, both had studied in different universities.

Justus said they used to meet during inter-university events, but after coming to UTAR, they became closer.

“While studying in the field, we used to exchange notes and talk about our work, and we really became good friends.

“However, after this, we will have to part ways, as we will be heading back to our houses in Tanzania,” he added.

Wong Lee Chee, 25, a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery graduate from Melaka, said she always had the passion to help people and could never see anyone in pain.

Wong said before she pursued her degree, her grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“While I was doing my degree and during my breaks, I used to follow him to the doctor's, and when an explanation was given, I could understand the diagnosis better.

“I hope to specialise in family medicine so that I can take care of patients outside, as well as look after my family at home,” she added.

Also graduating at the ceremony was UTAR lecturer Seow Ai Na, 57, who received her PhD.

Three of her students, Ching Ying Tian, 28; Khong Eng Mun, 26; and Loh How Zheng, 28, graduated on the same day with her, receiving their Master's in Philosophy.

The first batch of graduates received their scrolls from the university council chairman, Tan Sri Dr Ting Chew Peh, its council members, Tan Sri Chor Chee Heung and Datuk Ng Wan Peng, and the university’s Education Foundation Board of Trustees member Datuk Lee Leck Cheng.

UTAR chancellor Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik also conferred the university’s Honorary Doctor of Science on Prof John Edward Joshua Rasko AO, a clinical haematologist, pathologist and scientist from Australia whose research focuses on gene and stem cell therapy.

Dr Ling also conferred the UTAR Emeritus Professor on academician Dr Cheong Soon Keng.

In total 2,316 students from 109 different programmes would receive their scrolls during the three-day ceremony until Sunday (March 10).

The graduates comprise those who would receive their Bachelor's and Master's degrees and PhDs.

The guest of honour for the first session was a corporate figure - Liew Choon Lian, the group chief executive officer of MDT Innovations Sdn Bhd.

During his speech earlier, UTAR president Prof Datuk Dr Ewe Hong Tat told the graduates that they must show their appreciation and gratitude to their parents and loved ones.

“Your parents and your loved ones have waited many years since your school days to see you graduate from university.

“They have walked alongside you as pillars of strength and given you their loving support all these years,” he added.

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