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UVI to Confer 286 Degrees Saturday and Sunday

UVI Commencement Program 2011The University of the Virgin Islands will hold its 47th Annual Commencement Ceremonies May 14 and 15, on the St. Thomas campus and the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix, respectively. The St. Thomas campus ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 14, in the UVI Sports and Fitness Center. The Albert A. Sheen Campus ceremony will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 15, on the campus grounds.

The class speaker on the St. Thomas campus will be Derron Ambrose. The class speaker on St. Croix will be Sana Waleed Hamed. The class speakers are selected by members of their class.

The keynote speaker for both campuses is Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.

Admission to the St. Thomas campus ceremony is by ticket only. Parking on the St. Thomas campus will be available in the parking lots of the Reichhold Center for the Arts, the Administration and Conference Center and the upper campus. Shuttle service will be provided from all parking areas to and from the Sports and Fitness Center. Only those with disability permits and who were granted prior special permission will be allowed to park in the Sports and Fitness Center parking lot.

The St. Thomas ceremony will be broadcast live on WSTA "Lucky 13" 1340 AM. The St. Croix ceremony will be broadcast live on WSTX 970 AM.

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.

Spring 2011 Degrees*

Number of degrees to be conferred on the St. Thomas campus:
Master of Arts in Education - 2
Master of Science in Marine and Environmental Science - 3
Master of Business Administration - 6
Master of Public Administration - 4
Bachelor of Science - 40
Bachelor of Arts - 111
Associate of Applied Science - 4
Associate of Science - 4
Associate of Arts - 10
Total number of degrees on the St. Thomas campus - 184

Number of degrees to be conferred on the Albert A. Sheen campus on St. Croix:
Master of Arts in Education - 12
Master of Business Administration - 2
Master of Public Administration - 2
Bachelor of Science - 7
Bachelor of Arts - 37
Associate of Applied Science - 12
Associate of Science - 17
Associate of Arts - 13
Total number of degrees on the St. Croix campus - 102

The following students earned the highest grade point averages:

Highest GPAs St. Thomas campus, Spring 2011
Gabrielle Renchen is the graduate student on the St. Thomas campus with the highest GPA. She will earn a Master of Science in Marine and Environmental Sciences. Derron Ambrose is the undergraduate student on the St. Thomas campus with the highest GPA. Ambrose will earn a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

Highest GPAs St. Thomas campus, Fall 2010
LeCheeca Smith was the graduate student on the St. Thomas campus with the highest GPA. She earned a Master of Public Administration in December 2010. Erica Halliday was the undergraduate student on the St. Thomas campus with the highest GPA. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting in December 2010.

Highest GPAs St. Croix campus
Vernice Rogers and Delores Stapleton-Harris are tied as the graduate students on the St. Croix campus with the highest GPAs. Both will also earn Master of Arts degrees in education. Chasselle McConnell is the undergraduate student on the St. Croix campus with the highest GPA. McConnell will earn a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education.

Other interesting graduates:

St. Thomas Campus

Four-Year Degree in Three Years, With Honors

A bachelor's degree, once considered a four-year degree, now on average takes five years to complete. But UVI student Felix Miga is not average, so he planned on completing his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration in four years - and will end up completing it in three years this May, graduating with Summa Cum Laude honors.

"My sister told me hardly anybody graduates from UVI in four years," said Miga, who is pursuing a concentration in accounting. When he began UVI in the Fall 2008 semester, he was determined to graduate in four years. He enrolled full-time for each semester, including summer sessions - all while working part-time at FirstBank.

By 2010 when Miga went to his advisor, Prof. Marie Herman, she noticed that if he could pass a few College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, in order to forgo a few classes, he could graduate in three years. Miga, whose first language is Spanish, followed his advisor's advice - testing out of three Spanish classes. He also tested out of a required Computer Information Systems course. After that, it became clear that Miga was a year ahead of himself and his degree was on the horizon. He interned at the Internal Revenue Bureau and applied to Bowling Green University for graduate school.

"Looking back, I wonder how I did it," Miga said. "I'm tired," he said. "It was really stressful." But he would have it no other way. And he proved his sister wrong.

First in Family to Earn Degree

It may be hard to stand out in a large family, but on Saturday Bajahni Frazer will be standing out as the first in her family to earn a college degree. Frazer, who has 10 siblings - four sisters and six brothers - will earn a Bachelor of Arts in Education. "Education has always been a big factor for me," Frazer said. "It is one thing that no one can take from you. There is always something to learn and something to give."

After graduating from high school more than 15 years ago, Frazer was undecided about her career path. Helping her friends and family to raise their children, she gravitated towards children, earning an associate's degree in Early Childhood Development from Miami Dade Community College in 2001. In 2005 she started UVI, all while working at the Department of Human Services Head Start Program and raising her two sons. "I like the classroom. That's what keeps me happy," said Frazer, who hopes to open a day-school for pre-kindergarten to third grade. She also hopes to one day become a principal, after earning a master's degree in school administration and supervision.

Man on a Mission

Derron Ambrose, 26, is steadfast. Whether it's his determination to become a clinical psychologist, or to complete intense training in certified emergency response with the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA), he's known to be a young man on a mission.

A student peer educator, peer instructor for the Science 100 course, a member of the Golden Key Honour Society and the Psi Chi International Honor Society, Ambrose, who was named Student Employee of the Year in 2010, takes a purposeful approach to all he does.

Voted by his classmates to be the Class Speaker for the 2011Commencement on the St. Thomas campus, Ambrose also earned a 3.94 GPA -- the highest GPA for the Spring semester.

Ambrose's achievements are no surprise to his wife Mahogany, who earned a 3.98 GPA, the highest GPA on the St. Thomas campus last May, when she received her Bachelor of Science degree from UVI.

The couple plans to continue their graduate studies on the U.S. mainland. Derron will pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology and Mahogany plans to attend medical school.

Mexico Stand Out

When UVI mathematics major Leonardo Jose Bardomero envisioned accompanying his UVI mentor to Mexico for the 14th International Conference on Fibonacci Numbers and their Applications, he anticipated scholarly discussion.

But what neither Bardomero nor UVI Associate Professor of Mathematics Doug Iannucci expected was for Iannucci to become hospitalized, leaving Bardomero to face a roomful of mathematicians alone.

Bardomero, who will receive his bachelor's degree on Saturday, went to the conference in support of Iannucci, who was to lecture on Triunitary Perfect Numbers - numbers that equal the sum of their triunitary divisors. As luck would have it, with Iannucci ill, Bardomero became the sole lecturer representing the University of the Virgin Islands.

"I was in the hospital the whole time," Iannucci said upon their return. "It was Leonardo who carried the ball and represented UVI well at the conference."
Bardomero, 25, lectured to mathematicians from France, Germany, North Korea, Turkey and South Africa at the conference. He said they took note of the way he chose to conduct the lecture - without the use of technology. He simply wrote his computations on a blackboard in the front of the room.

St. Croix Campus

European Exchange, Two Degrees
While searching the internet for summer courses in her field, Malkia Morton came across the Summer Program in Communications Erfurt (SPICE). Wanting to experience a new culture, Morton applied for the program. She spent two months during the summer of 2010 studying communications in Germany at the intense summer program offered by the University of Erfurt, in collaboration with universities in Canada and the United States. Morton, who was the first person from the Caribbean to participate in the program, took a course in nonverbal communication and global and international public relations. Being in classes with students from Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic taught her a valuable lesson: "No matter how different someone may be from you, there are things that we all have in common," she said.

On Sunday, Morton, who is also president of the St. Croix campus Student Government Association, will earn Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communication and English. Morton's goal is to become an international public relations professional, but first she plans to attend graduate school and the Peace Corps.

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

*UVI conferred degrees in Fall 2010 (December). The statistics contained in this press release are only those for Spring 2011 (May) unless otherwise noted. Students whose degrees were confirmed in December are listed in the commencement booklet for the May ceremonies and have the option of participating in the ceremonies.

Note: Commencement program added on Monday, May 16, 2011