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HomeNewsArchivesSeveral New Programs See First Graduates at UVI Commencement Ceremony

Several New Programs See First Graduates at UVI Commencement Ceremony

May 13, 2008 — Hundreds of people sat in and around a huge tent at the University of the Virgin Islands' St. Croix campus Tuesday, applauding and cheering as 110 graduates picked up degrees at the 44th commencement ceremonies.
"We are transcending — trailblazing — trend setters," said Carl Christopher, 2008 class speaker. "We will be true to these adjectives."
Vanessa S. Hamilton was also a class speaker on St. Croix. The St. Thomas campus held ceremonies Monday.
LaVerne E. Ragster, president of UVI, praised the graduates for their accomplishments, mentioning that some had overcome hardships and obstacles. There are a number of Golden Key members in this class, Ragster said.
"Be courageous and embrace the future with determination," Ragster urged the graduates.
The guest speaker was Dwayne Ashley, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), a higher education assistance organization representing 47 public historically black colleges and universities. In his position, Ashley leads the organization's long-term planning and guides its overall strategic direction.
"Don't put a period at a challenge where God has only placed a comma," Ashley told the graduates.
He told the graduates to work on their "soft skills" — common sense things they should just know.
At the ceremonies, the first cohort of students in the recently formed Master of Arts in Mathematics for Secondary Teachers program earned their degrees — one on the St. Thomas campus and six on the St. Croix campus.
In addition, UVI collaborated in a master's degree program with the University of Pittsburgh that has resulted in the award of 14 master's degrees in library and information science — nine on the St. Thomas campus and five on the St. Croix campus. The grant from the Institute of Museums and Library Services, which provided the funding and guidelines for the collaboration, was developed by UVI, with the University of Pittsburgh as the degree-granting institution and a co-sponsor. This grant has been supported by the V.I. Department of Education and the Territorial Public Library System. Upon completion of the degree, graduates are required to work in libraries in the Virgin Islands for a minimum of two years.
Miguelina Simmons-Williams is the graduate candidate on the St. Croix campus with the highest grade point average. She received a master of arts in education degree. Javier Navarro is the undergraduate candidate on the St. Croix campus with the highest GPA. He earned a bachelor of science in computer science.
Cadet Andres Velazquez was the first graduating student to earn a commission as an officer through the senior Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program established at UVI in the fall of 2004. He has earned a college GPA of 3.57 (magna cum laude) with the Bachelor's in Business Management Degree program.
St. Croix Senator Juan Figueroa-Serville, a member of the 27th Legislature, obtained a bachelor of arts degree in business administration, with a concentration in business management.
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