ENGINEERING COLLEGE – GRADUATION
..... The existence from ancient times of marvels of construction – among which Ethiopia proudly numbers the monuments at Axum, the remarkable rock churches and other engineering wonders – attest to the long history of the profession……..
It gives Us great pleasure to be present here today to award degrees to the first graduates of this College of Engineering which We inaugurated with such high hopes but a few short years ago. This first graduation ceremony marks another step towards the fulfilment of the goal which we have set for Ourselves and for Our country in Our overall programme for the development of Ethiopia to which We have so long devoted Ourselves.
When We observe the tangible results produced by Our programme of education, to which We have dedicated the major portion of Our time and efforts, it helps Us to bear lightly the burden of Our labours, and provide for Us and for you as well an occasion for legitimate pride.
Although the first institution where men received formal training in engineering was established only a little over two hundred years ago, the science of engineering is one of the world’s oldest. The existence from ancient times of marvels of construction – among which Ethiopia proudly numbers the monuments at Axum, the remarkable rock churches and other engineering wonders attests to the long history of the profession. Even in Our day, engineers are seen constantly adopting and adapting to their current needs the techniques developed in those remote times, thus fusing the ancient and the modern, the old and the new. As you advance in your profession, the value of thus combining ancient and modern skills will become apparent to you.
Now that your formal education is over, you graduates, like engineering graduates the world over, will have to apprentice yourselves to senior engineers and acquire the necessary practical experience which alone can complete the training which you have received at this College.
The degree which you receive today testifies to your growth in knowledge and training. But the measure of your growth in real artisanship remains to be revealed in the work which awaits you in your future careers. Your success in your profession will not depend on your possession of an engineering degree; it is rather to be judged by the service you render in future and by the tangible results of your labours. Having passed the academic test posed by this College, you now move on to face the more arduous tests posed by life. And the only way to face these tests success-fully is to be spiritually prepared for them.
Do not make the mistake of assuming that having taken your engineering degree you can put training and study behind you, and can afford to neglect the acquisition of further knowledge and skill. Man’s education never stops, and in a profession as complex and difficult as yours, you must strive ceaselessly to put into practice your theoretical knowledge, and to keep yourselves abreast of new technical developments. If the product of your labours is not commensurate with the advantages you have received from education, your efforts thus far will be judged futile and worthless. Throughout your life, your mettle will be tested by the work you do, and your reputation will depend on the outcome of this test.
It is, therefore, your duty to exercise life-long vigilance to ensure that the fruits of your labours are worthy of the efforts spent on your education. If you, whose minds have been matured by education and to whom the torch of knowledge has been handed, fail to make a significant contribution to the welfare of your country, your responsibility shall be great indeed.
In order faithfully to discharge this heavy responsibility, you must be men who love your nation and people, men of integrity and clear conscience, combining patience and humility. Be unswerving in your loyalty to your country which has given you so much and to which so much is due. Place your faith and trust in Almighty God; for, without His assistance and guidance, man is but a weak and puny creature.
July 17, 1958.
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie – page 9 –