Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) will register the highest number of doctoral graduates in the university’s history and in the nation this year with a total of 632 graduates who will be receiving their scrolls during its 43rd convocation ceremony. (NSTP/MOHAMAD SHAHRIL BADRI SAALI)

KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) will register the highest number of doctoral graduates in the university’s history and in the nation this year with a total of 632 graduates who will be receiving their scrolls during its 43rd convocation ceremony.

In a press conference today, UPM vice-chancellor Professor Datin Paduka Datuk Dr Aini Ideris said the 6,015 graduates for this year’s ceremony will also include Master’s (1,554), Bachelor (3,337) and Diploma (492).

The convocation, which will take place from Nov 16 to 19, will also see 12 national athletes graduating from the varsity.

Among them are Malaysia's first diving world champion and Olympian Cheong Jun Hoong as well as SEA games gold medalist and Olympian Johnathan Wong Guanjie.

For Johnathan, 27, self-discipline is crucial to succeed in both studies and sports.

“Most often the challenge is trying to balance both. Due to its demanding nature, sports requires me to give my full commitment, hence taking up more of my attention. Therefore, prioritisation and sacrifices need to be made.”

Graduating with an aerospace engineering degree, Johnathan added: “In the future, I wish to be able to practice as an engineer while being a high performance athlete if given the opportunity.”

National hockey player, Raja Norsharina Raja Shabuddin, 28, will be receiving the Razlan Putra Medal for her excellence in both the field and the classroom.

As the only athlete in her family, Raja Norsharina’s parents initially wanted her to slow down on hockey to focus on her degree.

“Winning this award shows that being a sportswoman did not stop me from doing well in my studies,” she said.

Aini said: “This year, UPM will award the honorary doctorate in management to Tan Sri Anthony Francis 'Tony' Fernandes.

“The university and AirAsia has collaborated on a number of projects over the years. This includes a special programme for excellent UPM students to undertake internship training and work placement with the airline."

UPM will also award the Professor Emeritus titles to five recipients, Tan Sri Datuk Dr Nik Mustapha R Abdullah, Datuk Dr Mohd Sham Kasim, Professor Datuk Dr Ahmad Zubaidi Baharumshah, Professor Dr Maimunah Ismail and Professor Dr Wan Ishak Wan Ismail.

The Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, who is the university’s Chancellor, will be present to confer the scrolls in the first session of the ceremony.

The four-day ceremony will be held at Dewan Besar, Pusat Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah (PKKSSAAS), UPM in Serdang.