May 23, 2003 vol ix, number 5
May 23, 2003 vol ix, number 5
(left to 1 ,i Graduates on UVI's St. Croix campus pledge allegiance at the commencement ceremony held on May 18. St. Thomas
campus Chancellor John Leipzig congratulates a graduate at the commencement ceremony held on May 17.
UVI Graduates Ready to Make a Difference
The University of the Virgin Islands conferred 292 de-
grees in its 39t annual commencement exercises on May 17
and 18 on the St. Thomas and St. Croix campuses, respec-
tively. On St. Thomas, 188 degrees were presented and on
St. Croix 104 degrees were awarded.
The exercises were historic for Dr. Laveme Ragster, fourth
president of the university, because they were her first com-
mencement exercises as president.
"This academic year has been a time of great activity,
accomplishment and challenges at UVI," President Ragster
stated. She spoke about her first academic year in office and
thanked local politicians, the Board of Trustees, businesses,
and organizations for their support of the University's efforts.
As she addressed the "dynamic and determined" class of 2003,
she spoke about their accomplishments both academically and
personally. President Ragster concluded by giving the class
final words of encouragement. "For you, the dynamic and
determined class of 2003, I wish the self-discipline you learned
brings to life your dreams and the inner strengths to make all
challenges that you meet become opportunities for success
The St. Thomas class, hailed as "dynamic and determined"
by UVI administrators, local politicians and various speakers,
were reminded that they should not only be dynamic and de-
termined for now, but continue the trend forever.
Class speaker Cira Burke, who graduated magna cum
laude, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary educa-
tion, stressed that the Class of 2003 has been, currently is,
and will always be a dynamic and determined set ofindividu-
als. As she delivered her speech, she reminded her fellow
classmates that they can accomplish just about anything, once
their mind is put to the challenge.
"To find a cure for AIDS or eliminate world hunger, de-
cide what you're willing to sacrifice for it," she said. "Re-
ceiving a college diploma does not impact the world, but it is
what you do with it that makes the difference," she said dur-
ing her high-energy address.
The St. Croix class faced many challenges, but the Class
of 2003 is now prepared to face many more, according to St.
Croix class speaker Ellenor Paul, who graduated magna cum
laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary educa-
"My classmates and I are ready to reimburse the terri-
tory through service for the dollars that have been invested in
their education," said Paul. "We are ready to use our buoyant
and dauntless characteristics to benefit the U.S. Virgin Is-
lands and our global community. We encourage you to em-
Commencement continued on next page
May 20-31 Future Global Leaders STT
May 23 WNET Roundtable Meeting STX
May 24, 25 STARfest 9 STT
May 28 SBDC Workshop STX
May 30 Safe Diving Workshop STT
UVI Participates and Wins for Carnival 2003
With another set of winning
entries in the 2003 St. Thomas Car-
nival, the University of the Virgin
Islands is well on its way to be-
coming a mainstay in local celebra-
tions. The Cooperative Extension
Service 4-H Program entry in the
Junior King and Queen of the Band r
competition started the winning
Ten-year-old Shiraine Stephens,
who portrayed the "Empress Prin-
cess Moon Child," won the Junior _
Queen of the Band title. Her cos-
tume, a circular piece, was deco-
rated with pink and blue feathers. Shira
Shiraine Stephens of UVIs 4-
The 4-H Junior King of the press Princess Moon Child,
Band contender Kelvin "KJ" trade.
Pickering, depicting the "Prince of
Music," was the first runner-up. His costume, which created
a half circle around him, was decorated with musical notes.
UVI's 4-H went on to win second place in the "troupe of
50 or more" category in the
Children's Parade, held on May 2.
UVI's Laura Daniel, a pro-
gram specialist in the Registrar's
Office on the St. Thomas campus,
2 was Grand Marshall of the
Children's Parade. Daniel is a long-
time carnival participant.
Also participating in the
Children's Parade was the UVI
Family Life Center steel band.
In the Adult's Parade, UVI's
float entry titled "A Mas of Knowl-
edge," won second place. The float
was beautifully decorated in shades
Prog a "- of blue and white. At the center of
' Program portrays the "Em-
in the 2003 (C I. ',. Pa- the float a huge gold lamp oflearn-
ing sat atop a stack of books. UVI's
President LaVere Ragster walked
up the parade route alongside the float, while UVI's Queen
Alba Harrigan and other members of the UVI family rode on
ploy us so that you too can be a collaborative partner in our
Donald E. Thompson, division director for the National
Science Foundation, made mention of his own college gradu-
ation years ago. Thompson's message simply reminded gradu-
ates that their future belongs to no one else but them.
"A degree is just the beginning," he said, "but the best is
yet to come. For some of you this is the first of many aca-
demic pursuits; you may take advantage of future education
on this island, mainland United States or in other countries.
After that academic sojourn, you should look again to your
island as one of the places in the world to help shape the
future. This is a glorious place with so much to offer."
Many other dignitaries spoke at both ceremonies. Gov-
ernor Charles Tumbull spoke about the many challenges that
the Virgin Islands government and the society face, such as
the financial crisis and the lack of unity as a people. Although
the government faces such problems, both Governor Tumbull
and Senate President David Jones promised the graduates,
family, friends and President Ragster, that appropriations will
be made shortly to begin construction this year on the Re-
search and Technology Park on St. Croix.
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