Nekede, Nigeria. The inauguration of the 2017/2018 academic year as well as the 11th matriculation ceremony of students of Claretian Institute of Philosophy, Maryland, Nekede, Owerri, Nigeria took place on Saturday, December 9, 2017. The event began with an inaugural Mass at 9:00 am, which was presided over by the newly appointed Bishop of Bauchi Diocese, Most Rev. Hilary Dachelem, Cmf, who is also an alumnus of Claretian Institute of Philosophy (C.I.P).  Present at the mass were the Rector of CIP, Rev. Fr. Prof. Ejiogu E.Amaku, Cmf; the Academic Dean, Rev. Fr. Henry Ebo, Cmf; the Provincial Prefect of Formation, East Nigeria Province, Rev. Fr. Kenneth Oguejiofor, Cmf, and other members of the academic staff.  In his homily, Bishop Hilary Dachelem expressed gratitude to the past and present lecturers of CIP and emphasised that what he is today is a result of the intellectual and moral formation he received from the institute.

After the Eucharistic celebration, the matriculating students assembled in front of the statute of the Madonna for a procession to the auditorium for the matriculation ceremony. The matriculating students led the procession followed by lecturers of CIP and academic officers from the mother university, Imo State University, Nigeria, to which CIP is affiliated.

The matriculation ceremony began with an opening prayer said by Most Rev. Hilary Dachelem, Cmf, after which both the rector of the institute and representative of the vice chancellor of the university, Prof. Uwaoma gave their welcome and opening addresses respectively. The Rector in his address enumerated some of the many opportunities CIP offers, which are not obtainable in other higher institutions of learning. They include serene atmosphere for learning, sound moral formation of her students, academic excellence, development of entrepreneurial skills and creativity in students, qualified lecturers and so many others.

The matriculating students totalled a hundred and eight. Out of this number, twelve are from East Nigeria Province and eight from the West Independent Delegation; the rest come from other congregations and external lay students. After the rector’s address, the matriculating students took an oath of loyalty to both the university and the institute and the representative of the vice chancellor, Prof. Uwaoma admitted them as bona fide students of CIP.  The institute presented awards of academic excellence to the best three students of each class.  Claretian seminarians took six out of the nine awards given.

The students presented cultural displays to colour the ceremony.  The students’ representative, Okereke Kelechi, Cmf gave the vote of thanks on behalf of the students. The event ended with a closing prayer, said by Rev. Fr. Dr Chrysanthus Ogbozo, Cmf. The Vice Chancellor, officials of Imo State University, Staff of CIP and the matriculating students then processed out of the auditorium.