15th Commencement Ceremony on June 13th, 45 more students to be counted among USM alumni


Twenty years and some fifteen commencement ceremonies later the University of St. Martin (USM) is scheduled to have 45 more students inducted as alumni as they graduate on Saturday, June 13th.

The 15th Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2009 will be held at the Maho Convention Center beginning at 7pm under the theme "Building Country St. Martin with an Educated Youth."


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The majority of the graduates will be graduating with Associates Degrees in Business and the number of students in this category is 18. The second largest group is the graduates in the education program. Seven students will be graduating with their Bachelor of Arts in Education degrees. Six students will be graduating with their Associates in General Liberal Arts degrees. Five students have graduated with the Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and the Master of Arts Education degrees, respectively. Both of these programs are offered in conjunction with the University of the Virgin Islands. The students in this program received their UVI degree last month at a ceremony at UVI.

Three students are graduating with their Bachelor of Business Administration via a distance program offered in conjunction with Mount St. Vincent University in Canada. One student will be graduating with her certificate in teaching. The Class of 2009 will join more than 400 graduates as USM Alumni.

"I would like to congratulate all our graduates and wish them much success in their future endeavors," USM President Josianne Fleming-Artsen said, while encouraging students and graduates to be proud of having received their degree from the University of St. Martin. The University of St. Martin is very proud of the confidence our graduates have places in this institution of higher learning."

"We are actually educating global citizens whose main geographic operating area may be St. Maarten. So, to say we are preparing human capital for St. Martin alone would be doing our graduates a dishonor. We are educating professionals to be able to function optimally in whatever environment they may find themselves immersed in, while also being able to give back to their community."

"Consequently we aim to see our graduates go from strength to strength whether they continue academically or decide to join the workforce. They are a reflection of USM in whatever they do and I am calling on them to represent the institution with pride and honor."

The Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Ron Pribble shares a similar sentiment.

"This year’s graduates, like the hundreds from the past, demonstrate that USM is a place of learning where students can "start here and then go anywhere." The University will see its graduates move into professional positions on St. Martin and in other countries. Many graduates will continue along their educational paths at universities in other lands and receive substantial scholarships to support their continued studies. Their success is a testament to their growth and hard work and to the solid foundation of learning that USM fosters and develops," Dean of Academics Dr. Ron Pribble said.

"The University of St. Martin is so very proud to honor its graduating students."

The students graduating this year with their Associate of Arts in Business include Rosemar Africa-Willams, Julian Ashley, Catherina Carbon, Natacha Carriere, Sahcha Eustache, Antoine Fleming, Kevon Fleming, Shevon Fleming, Guerda Fremont, Daniel Hyman, Akintude Patrick, George Pelgrim, Satish Ramlall, Normaline Richardson, Tasha Richardson, Lavisha Sachdev, Conroy Thomas and Mery-Ann Welks. The students graduating with an Associate of Arts in General Liberal Arts include Magdiona Gumbs, Monica Longville, Zola Maison, Ricky Mason, Jennie Stapleton and Curtis Thomas.

The students graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Education include Lissa Carter, Shirmel Dickenson, Yonnette France-Gordon, Reeder Jno Baptiste, Sarah Johnson, Claudine Spanner, and Lenworth Wilson Jr. Graduates with the Bachelor in Business include Conneir Thelwell, Giovanna Schotborg, Sophie Iles, Dion Gumbs, and Silviane John. Elmia Gumbs, Elfrida Job-Peterson, and another student are graduating with their Bachelor in Business Administration degree in the program offered in conjunction with Mount St. Vincent University in Canada.

Gracier Brown, Jackelene Gumbs, Juliana Hodge-Shipley, Kim Lucas-Felix and Jessica Richardson are graduating with a Masters Degree in Education. These students received their degrees from UVI in a ceremony last month. Peggy Illis-Bell will be receiving her Certificate in Teaching.

"As graduating students march across the stage at USM Commencement 2009 on Saturday, June 13, they will celebrate with friends, peers, and extended family members the capstone moment of their journey of personal, intellectual, and career development. Many of these graduates will celebrate the upward movement of their family banners—because their graduation represents so much in the history of families and the dreams of those who have assisted and supported them," Dr. Pribble noted.

"Students are not an island unto themselves. In fact, graduates are extensions of the families and friends who have encouraged and sometimes even pushed them forward and upward."

"The Board of the University applauds all of these industrious and energetic graduates. We know that each graduate will make a significant contribution to St. Maarten which is enhanced by education. The Board also wishes to thank the many contributors to the scholarships held by many of our graduates, including the Island and Federal Departments of Education, the Dr. Tien Scholar program, the Journey for Education and all the business sponsors who supported the degree efforts of our graduates," the president of USM Board of Directors Dr. Lockie Johnson said.

The keynote speaker for this 15th Commencement Ceremony is the Head of the Bureau of Constitutional Affairs Dr. Jeannette Hagen. The graduation will be held at the Maho Convention Hall.

Dr. Hagen, who has a wealth of knowledge and experience in offshore financial business: export transactions, entrepreneurial initiatives and organizational structures, holds a Bachelor of Business & Public Administration from the University of the Netherlands Antilles, a Masters in International Business majoring in Finance from Florida International University and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Inter-American Studies from the University of Miami concentrating on Development processes, International Business, Foreign relations, and Entrepreneurial experiences the Caribbean region.