Bigard, one of the greatest institutions of learning in Africa is affiliated withthe prestigious Urban University, Rome. In addition, the Philosophy Department of Bigard is also affiliated with the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. During every academic year, the first year students of Philosophy who excelled in the required examination are usually matriculated into the university. The matriculation ceremonies usually hold in Bigard.
This year’s matriculating ceremony took place on Monday, April 8, 2019, and was marked in a grand style. By 08:00 hours of that day, the matriculating officials from the mother institution had already arrived. The parents of the matriculating students and other guests who came to be part of the ceremony also arrived the seminary early enough. By 09:00 hours, all matriculants were seen processing in their matriculation gowns from the Philosophy II Lecture Hall into the Bigard Auditorium with the tassel of their academic caps kept to the right side.
By 09:15 hours, the procession of the Academic Staff and Officers of the University of Ibadan began. The match was led by the Bigard Band Group. The procession took the following order: Lecturers of Bigard Memorial Seminary, Registrar of Bigard Memorial Seminary, incumbent and past Heads of Philosophy Departments of Bigard, Affiliation Officer of University of Ibadan, Head of Philosophy Department of University of Ibadan, Registrar of University of Ibadan, and finally, the Rector and the Vice-Chancellor of Bigard Memorial Seminary and University of Ibadan respectively.
Upon arrival in the Auditorium, all the matriculants and guests who were already seated stood still in honour to officially welcome the matriculating officials. All remained standing until the procession reached the podium. The opening prayer was immediately said before four different anthems were rendered in the following sequence: National Anthem, University of Ibadan Anthem, Papal Anthem, and lastly, Bigard Anthem. The anthems were accompanied by powerful orchestra. At the end, all settled for the Rector’s address.
The Rector, Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Ikpenwa, welcomed the matriculating officials and the guests in the name of the Catholic Bishops of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, the sole proprietors of the seminary, to the 19th matriculation ceremony of Bigard in affiliation with the prestigious University of Ibadan. He thanked sincerely the staff of the University of Ibadan ably chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka and his team for ensuring that Bigard enjoins a sustained and hitch-free relationship over a couple of decades that the paths of the two institutions crossed. Turning to the matriculants, he reminded them that their academic journey has only begun. Thanking the guests, he once again, enjoined all to feel free and feel at home. The Rector’s address was followed by the Vice-Chancellor’s address. His address was punctuated with litanies of accolades for Bigard Memorial Seminary which he described as one of the greatest citadels of learning in Africa. Bigard, he said, is and will continue to remain a treasure for University of Ibadan.
There were entertainment sessions that featured presentations of the Song titled ‘How Excellent’ by the Bigard Main Choir and saxophone presentation by some students, and other shows of talents.
Coming after the presentations was the Matriculating Oath conducted by one of the officials of the University of Ibadan. With their right palms raised, the matriculants rendered the words of the oath. By this oath, the matriculating students made commitments of obedience to the authorities of the institutions and of good conducts as failure to abide by them may attract severe punishments. This is usually the climax of the ceremony. With the oath taking, the matriculants proceeded to sign the matriculation register, an action that would confirms them fully matriculated, hence, bona fide students of the University of |Ibadan. With the signing concluded, the Vice-Chancellor declared the ceremony closed.
The anthems were again rendered in the reversed order. The recessional procession also took place in a reversed order, which is, beginning with the officials then the matriculants, while all others remained standing. There were group photographs in front of the Seminary Main Chapel.