On Monday, 27th March, 2017, all roads led to the Bigard Auditorium as the Seminary marked the 19th Matriculation Ceremony in the philosophy department of the seminary. Bigard, being an institution affiliated to the University of Ibadan, the University on this day matriculated 98 of Bigard seminarians into her philosophy department.
The first matriculation which initiated the relationship between these two great institutions took place on 27 April, 1998 hence, today marks the 19th of its kind.
Opening Ceremony: The University of Ibadan was represented by four officials; the Dean, Faculty of Arts, Prof. Adebola B. Ekanola who represented the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka, the deputy Registrar Academic, Dr. Ikeoluwapo O. Moody who equally represented the Registrar Academic, O. L. Olukoya, the Faculty Officer, Arts, Mr. O. Dairo and the Head of the Department of Philosophy, Prof. F. Offor.
The occasion began at exactly 9:10am with a procession led by the Bigard Fans for Jesus, in which the matriculants gladly in their matriculation gowns led the way into the Bigard Auditorium, followed by the Bigard team of lecturers and formators, and then the officials from the University of Ibadan. In the Bigard Auditorium, the occasion continued with the recitation of the Anthems in this order, as was led by the Bigard Fans for Jesus; National Anthem, University of Ibadan Anthem, Papal Anthem, and Bigard Anthem.
The opening prayer was immediately said by one of Bigard’s eminent Spiritual Directors, Rev. Fr. John-Bosco Okoye. The Dean, faculty of Arts of the University of Ibadan declared the matriculation ceremony open in the following words, “I now declare open this assembly, a congregation of the University of Ibadan constituted for the purpose of Matriculating students for the Bachelor of Arts (B.A) Degree in philosophy, offered by the University of Ibadan.”
Rector’s Welcome Address: The Rector, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Ikpenwa, in his welcome address, thanked and welcome the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan though represented, the representatives of the University, members of the Academic Staff Union and the lecturers in the philosophy department as well as the formation team in Bigard, for their efforts and sacrifices to the seminary, on behalf of the Bishops of Onitsha Ecclesiastical province, who are the proprietors of the seminary.
He also congratulated the matriculating students and enjoined them to make the best use of this opportunity, knowing fully well that academics is one of the four pillars on integral formation in the seminary. Quoting the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II, ‘Pastores Dabo Vobis’, “Intellectual formation helps the candidate to acquire a wisdom which in turn opens to, and is directed towards knowing and adhering to God” (PDV no. 51).
He enjoined them to see the matriculation ceremony as an invitation to strip oneself of the garments of ignorance and vices and put on the regalia of wisdom and virtue so that at the end of their studies, they may be good ambassadors of the Church and good citizens of the state.
Matriculation Address: Taking the matriculation address, the Dean, Faculty of Arts of the University of Ibadan pointed out that this year’s matriculation ceremony in no distant time will unravel the two decades of the relationship between the two great and pioneer institutions come next year. He registered his satisfaction with the Seminary management and urged that the flag of academic excellence recorded should be kept in esteem.
He re-affirmed the determination of the University of Ibadan to ensure that all its affiliated programmes achieve the objectives for which they are established. He stated the mission of the University to be: “to expand the frontiers of knowledge as well as produce an all round developed graduates who will contribute to the transformation of society.” Advising the matriculants, the Dean encouraged the matriculants to settle for nothing but excellence in their studies.
Quoting Aristotle, he said, ‘Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives- choice, not chance determines your destiny.’ Meaning, to achieve academic excellence, you must make a choice to put in concerted effort, apply yourselves to the discipline of assiduous study, remain focused on your goal and never get distracted by other ancillary goals.
He admonished them to be of high moral standard as the University will not compromise on any form of immorality ranging from cultism, drug abuse, cyber crime, uncultured dress codes and examination malpractices. Finally he encouraged them to make good use of the opportunities that the University is affording them by working hard, paying attention to lectures and conducting themselves becomingly as the journey of a thousand miles begins with a step, of which, that journey they have begun today.
Matriculation Oath: The Matriculation oath which was conducted by the Deputy Registrar Academic, of the University of Ibadan, Dr. Ikeoluwapo O. Moody was taken by the matriculants, where they pledged allegiance to the School and promised to be faithful in observing the school rules and regulations. After the Matriculation Oath was followed a musical rendition by the Bigard Choir “Be not Afraid” followed by a Saxophone presentation “I want to live forever”. The signing of the matriculation register was shifted till the completion of the event.
The occasion was declared closed by the Dean, Faculty of Arts of the University of Ibadan. This was followed by the recitation of anthems in a descending order as presented before the commencement of the day’s event followed with procession in a reverse order to the front of Bigard Main Chapel for snapshots.