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SPECIALIZING IN FUTURES
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Th motl nesete of Th Unvrst of th Vigi Island
May 31, 2011vol xvii, number 5
UVI Graduates to 'Set the World on Fire'
Derron Ambrose, left, selected as commencement speaker
by his St. Thomas campus class, delivers his address. Am-
brose also earned the highest grade point average in the
undergraduate class. ( i., ,.;;' McCo,.',.'ll, right, receives
her degree from UVI President Dr David H.ll at the
UVI Commencement ceremony on the Albert A. Sheen
Campus on St. Croix. McCG,.,.i'll was the undergraduate
student on St. Croix with the highest grade point average
and the only to graduate with summa cum laude honors.
Making a difference was the collective message at
UVI's 47th Annual Commencement ceremonies
on St. Thomas and St. Croix, held May 14 and 15, re-
spectively. Keynote speaker Dr. Johnetta B. Cole, gave
the graduates a list of things to consider as they begin a
new chapter in their lives.
"You need to get or remain passionate about learn-
ing," she said. "You can't stop learning now. At my age I'm
having the time of my life, learning every day." Dr. Cole
is the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of
African Art, a position she assumed in 2009. She has had a
distinguished career as an educator and humanitarian and
is president emerita of Bennett College for Women and
Spelman College. She told the graduates to be idealistic,
go above and beyond in all they do, serve others and prac-
Dr. Cole told the story of a young girl who, seeing
dozens of starfish washed up on the shore, began tossing
them back into the ocean, knowing that if she did not,
they would die. Although the girl was told that she could
never get all of them back into the ocean, she knew that
she made a difference in the life of each starfish she was
able to touch. "I am asking of you to model your life after
that girl," Dr. Cole said. "Be idealistic. Believe that you
can save all the starfish," she said.
"It's no secret that this is a difficult time to enter the
workforce," said Angel Dawson, commissioner of the VI
Department of Finance, who delivered remarks on behalf
May 31 -June 3 4-TT Summer Registrations STT/STX
JunLe 23 Summer Session 1 Begins S'17/S'TX
of Gov.John P. deJongh Jr. "You can look at it as bad luck
or as opportunity," Dawson said. "Now more than ever
we need you. We need your minds, your ideas," Dawson
told the graduates. The world is changing and the young
at heart lead change, he said. "It is your time."
Derron Ambrose, commencement speaker on the St.
Thomas campus, spoke of what it took to reach this mile-
stone.There are many meanings attached to the word de-
gree, said Ambrose, who earned the highest grade point
average in the undergraduate class on the St. Thomas
campus. A degree can be used as a measurement of angles
or temperature, he noted. People sometimes refer to a
college degree as a piece of paper, he said. "But to us it
means more than that." Ambrose used the analogy of wa-
ter in a kettle on the stove. Moving the water from 211 to
212degrees Fahrenheit makes a big difference that creates
steam, he said. Steam can then be used to create power.
"A degree for us makes a fundamental difference,"
Ambrose said, noting the hours of sacrifice and hard work
needed year after year to pass courses in order to gradu-
ate. "We have made it," he said. "We have achieved a state
UVI conferred 286 degrees, 102 on St. Croix and 184
on St. Thomas. Chaselle McConnell earned the high-
est grade point average in the undergraduate class on
St. Croix. She was the only summa cum laude graduate
in her class. McConnell hopes to make a difference by
becoming a teacher and training the next generation of
leaders. "I really cherish the education I received at UVI
and all that I learned from my classes, the professors that
See Commencement on next page
Phonathons Helo Increase Alumni Contributions by 96%
t's 5 p.m. on a Wednesday after-
noon. Linda Smith, UVI's director
of Annual Giving and Alumni Affairs,
is busy getting final supplies for the ',.
University of the Virgin Islands 2011 ". � .
Alumni Phonathon. The phonathon i,
begins at 5:30 p.m. Smith has little
time to spare, but she greets volun-
teers with a smile as they make their
way into the conference room of
the Administration and Conference Reichhold Center fo
Center, which was transformed into Manager Karen Gut
the 2011 Alumni Ph
a calling center for the event. 2 o St. Tho
"Putting this together has been ground are UV's C,
a herculean task," Smith said later. left, and Director ofA
She has put together several phona- ScholarshipsArdrina,
thons, but this particular one focused
on special alumni - persons who attended UVI or CVI
(the College of the Virgin Islands) for a minimum of 12
months, but did not graduate. Getting current informa-
tion for special alumni was a challenge, Smith said. But
once the phonathon began on May 23, everything went
I had and the people that I met," McConnell said follow-
ing commencement. "I really want this to be a motivation
to any student," she said of her accomplishment. Dedica-
tion to course work, sacrificing time and believing that
she could accomplish her goals despite the challenges she
faced helped her to be top of her class. It's a model that
anyone could adopt, she said. "I really want to see more
summa cum laudes, magna cum laudes and cum laudes."
Sana Hamed was the commencement speaker on St.
"The majority of the respons-
es have been favorable," Smith said.
"They embrace the ideals of UVI,"
she added, noting that many of the
special alumni encouraged UVI
to reach out to even more special
alumni by sharing names and con-
tact information. While this phase
was primarily to regain contact with
-. Special alumni, some of them even
the Arts Marketing pledged donations, Smith said.
ff center volunteers at This is part two of an earlier
nathon, held May 23-
nathon, hel May - calling campaign started in March.
as campus. In the back-
lpr~/l,,I Peggy Smith, Utilizing a national calling pro-
vancement Services and gram, the March campaign focused
cott-Ellirt. on traditional alumni - those who
earned degrees from UVI - and has
increased the alumni giving rate by 96 percent. "This is
historic," she said of the jump in the alumni giving rate,
"especially in this economic time."
Smith said phase three of the phonathon will con-
tinue in August, in an effort to reach out to more special
UVI President Dr. David Hall congratulated the
graduates, who he said are destined to set the world on
fire. "Many of you came through circumstances that may
have crushed others," Dr. Hall said. "This is your launch,
not your landing."
"I, as president, charge you to go out into the world
and make it a better place," Dr. Hall said in closing.
SA &ds : UVI is a production of the UVI Public Rela-
tions Office. Contact us by telephone at 340-693-1056 or by
fax at 340-693-1055.
2 John Brewer's Bay
St. Thomas, VI 00802
IIGET CO NNETE ITO UVI n av an copIshments at .. wwwiuvi~ed I