Divine Word University has postponed its 39th Graduation Ceremony scheduled for Friday 12 March by a week as a show of respect for Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare.
DWU President Professor Father Philip Gibbs SVD announced the decision of University Council over the weekend.
“After consultation with the Chair of Council I can confirm that the DWU Graduation which was to be on the 12th March is now postponed by one week and is rescheduled for Friday 19th March,” said Professor Gibbs.
“There will be difficulties for many who have booked flights and accommodation for the planned graduation on the 12th of March.”
“However, we cannot have graduation during the official mourning period for the Father of the Nation and friend to DWU,” Professor Gibbs added.
Monday 1st March and Friday 12th March are two public holidays announced by the Government over the weekend in respect of Sir Michael, the founding prime minister of Papua New Guinea affectionately called the “Father of the Nation”.
Professor Gibbs said the DWU community join the rest of the country to mourn the death of Sir Michael who has been a great friend of the University over the years not only as a devout Catholic but as a national leader.
“The Council, staff and students at Divine Word University join the family and the people of Papua New Guinea to mourn the passing of Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare,” Professor Gibbs said.
“The late Sir Michael was a friend and great supporter of DWU. The Student Services Building at DWU in Madang is named after him.
“As part of national mourning, the Government has declared Monday 1st March and Friday 12th March to be public holidays.
Professor Gibbs said: :On Monday evening 1st of March the SRC at the DWU Madang campus will be leading a candlelight vigil and a chance to thank God for the life of the Father of the Nation.
“Further observances such as a thanksgiving Mass in his honour will be announced later. Other campuses will announce their own programs to mark this sad occasion,” the DWU President said.