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UVI to Confer 290 Degrees Monday & Tuesday

The University of the Virgin Islands will hold its 45th Annual Commencement Ceremonies May 18 and 19, on the St. Thomas and St. Croix campuses, respectively. The St. Thomas campus ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 18, in the Sports and Fitness Center. The St. Croix campus ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19, on the campus grounds.

The class speaker on the St. Thomas campus will be Rick S. Grant. The class speaker on the St. Croix campus will be Amaris N. Chew. The class speakers are selected by members of their class.

The keynote speaker for both campuses is the Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, the Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. A medical doctor by training, Dr. Douglas became a formidable leader in the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, and led the party to power in 1995. He won re-election in 2000 and 2004. Additionally, he plays an active leadership role in many active regional and international organizations. As CARICOM's spokesman on HIV/AIDS, Dr. Douglas has received international recognition. He has also received many honors and accolades throughout his career.

Number of degrees to be conferred on the St. Thomas campus:
Master of Arts in Education - 19
Master of Science in Marine and Environmental Science - 1
Master of Business Administration - 8
Master of Public Administration - 4
Bachelor of Science - 42
Bachelor of Arts - 99
Associate of Science - 2
Associate of Applied Science - 3
Associate of Arts - 19
Master of Arts - University of Pittsburgh Master of Library and Information Science - 3

Total number of degrees on the St. Thomas campus - 197 degrees, 2 dual degrees

Number of degrees to be conferred on the St. Croix campus:
Master of Arts in Education - 9
Master of Arts in Mathematics for Secondary Teachers - 1
Master of Business Administration - 2
Master of Public Administration - 3
Bachelor of Science - 5
Bachelor of Arts - 37
Associate of Applied Science - 13
Associate of Science - 17
Associate of Arts - 9
Master of Arts - University of Pittsburgh Master of Library and Information Science - 7

Total number of degrees on the St. Croix campus - 96

The following students earned the highest grade point averages in UVI's May 2009 graduating class:

St. Thomas Campus

Deedea A. Evelyn is the graduate student with the highest GPA on the St. Thomas campus. She will earn a Master's of Arts in Education degree. Michelle J. Ulysses is the undergraduate student on the St. Thomas campus with the highest GPA. She will earn a Bachelor of Arts in English.

St. Croix Campus

Retse J. Johnson-Daniel is the graduate student with the highest GPA on the St. Croix campus. . She will earn a Master's of Arts in Education degree. Cindy K. Obeius is the undergraduate student on the St. Croix campus with the highest GPA. She will earn a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting.

OTHER INTERESTING GRADUATES:

St. Thomas Campus:

Regaining a Dream Deferred

Earl Brewley, Jr. didn't fare too well during his freshman year at college, but the UVI graduate exercised faith and determination, and, after completing a double major, has been accepted to Howard Medical School.

"When I got my first set of grades from the university on the mainland, I thought it would be impossible to get into medical school," said Brewley, who majored in bio-chemistry at the time. Facing several personal problems, which led to his academic woes, Brewley returned to St. Thomas and enrolled part-time in UVI. When he was able to attend UVI full-time he declared engineering as his major, but soon switched to biology after participating in a summer program at the University of New Hampshire. Shortly after, Brewley added chemistry as a second major.

Although he maintained a high grade point average, Brewley was unable to land major scholarships. Then more problems hit - his father was incarcerated following a highly publicized case, forcing the full-time student to also become a full-time employee and "man of the house." "It was extremely hard," Brewley said, especially during his senior year when he carried a 21-credit-hour load and was applying to medical school. Brewley has not yet landed any major scholarships to Howard University and is not sure of how he'll finance his education. But he's sure that he'll become a medical doctor and return to the territory to practice some day.

"I was astonished that I was able to finish. I can't believe I made it, really and truly," said Brewley, a former Upward Bound student. "It worked out though. I had faith in God and that helped."

Student Project Receives Government Proclamation

Indira Herbert said she had been personally affected by senseless acts of violence during her childhood, and as a UVI nursing student saw the escalating violence in the territory as a public health problem in the community. For her senior leadership project she set out to tackle some of the underlying issues of violence by teaching at-risk students in middle schools about preventing violence.

Herbert spent one week each at Bertha Boschulte Middle School and at Addelita Cancryn Jr. High, teaching students about non-violence topics such as respect and responsibility, anger management, conflict resolution, countering bullying and not joining gangs.

"I wanted to be an active part in this whole non-violence movement, in spreading the word about non-violence," the single mother said. She said the students responded well and indicated that they needed more information about non-violence and they needed the information more often.

Part of her action was requesting that the VI Government declare a "Student Non-Violence Appreciation Week" so that the work that she started can continue. Gov. John P. deJongh has agreed to issue the proclamation in February 2010. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, Herbert plans to work at the Schneider Regional Medical Center for two years before furthering her education in a specialty nursing area such as complimentary/alternative medicine.

St. Croix Campus:

Small School Offers Big Opportunities

As a student at California Polytechnic University of Pomona, when Miriam Welderufael learned of the National Student Exchange Program, she went straight to the "V" for Virgin Islands in the alphabetical listing of participating states. Having fallen in love with St. Thomas a few years earlier, she said attending any university in the Virgin Islands would have worked for her.
The communications major enrolled on UVI's St. Croix campus in fall 2006 and stayed for two semesters. During that time she was a reporter for the student newspaper UVI Voice. Then she became the newspaper's managing editor. "The opportunities were coming and I decided to stay where the opportunities were," Welderufael said.

At California Polytechnic University where the current student enrollment is 21,000 students, "opportunities like that aren't usually presented to a sophomore," she said. Welderufael was part of the team that led the revived newspaper to winning national awards at the Annual National Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Student Newspaper Conference.
Along with being the editor of a nationally recognized publication, at UVI Welderufael also had several opportunities to travel and meet people from all walks of life. As a Thurgood Marshall Scholar she went to New York, and also to Maryland and Florida with the UVI Voice. She also spent a year on the St. Thomas campus. "I loved the experience and had no regrets. I'm glad I was able to come to UVI," she said.

After earning her Bachelor of Arts in communications, Welderufael plans to take a year off before attending graduate school to study documentary filmmaking.

In respect to all of the graduates, their families and friends, the use of air horns, whistles and other noisemakers will not be permitted at either ceremony. Public parking for the St. Thomas Commencement will be provided at the new Administration and Conference Center and Reichhold Center for the Arts parking lots. Shuttle buses will operate between the upper campus, both parking lots and the Sports and Fitness Center. Parking nearest the Sports and Fitness Center will be by permit only. The St. Thomas Commencement ceremony will be broadcast live over Radio One 1000 A.M. The St. Croix ceremony will be broadcast live over 103.5 F.M. Da Vybe.

For more information or to interview the previously mentioned students call the UVI Public Relations Office at 693-1056.