The University of Guam celebrated the accomplishments of 319 graduates during Spring 2016 Commencement at the UOG Calvo Field House last Sunday. UOG conferred 279 undergraduate degrees and 40 graduate degrees.
Combined with the 262 graduates from Fall 2015, a total of 581 degrees were conferred in academic year 2014-2015, the most in UOG history.
The Commencement Speaker was Her Excellency Dr. Hilda C. Heine, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. President Heine was also presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University.
Speaking on women serving in island governments, she said, “The political landscape for women in many parts of the world is changing for the better. Unfortunately, this type of change is slow to take hold in our part of the world. Only 12 percent of women are represented in the Pacific island countries’ legislatures and parliaments.”
“Thank you Guam for being an exception in the sense that that there are more women in Guam represented in public office than any other countries in the pacific region,” she said.
Kevin Martinez, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Sociology, was named the valedictorian after breaking an unprecedented six-way tie for the top honor. Martinez offered his view of taking responsibility for one’s success. “No one is holding you back. Not your friends, not your teachers, not your parents. The only one that can limit yourself is you, so don’t do that,” he said.
During the ceremony, Bilung Gloria G. Salii of Koror, Republic of Palau received an honorary Master of Traditional Micronesian Knowledge for her work promoting and preserving the Palauan culture. After brief remarks, she recited a traditional Palauan chant which stirred the capacity crowd in the Calvo Field House. Bilung Salii is the first woman to receive the honorary degree.
The largest number of graduates came from the UOG School of Business and Public Administration, which conferred a total of 114 degrees—96 undergraduate degrees in Business Administration, Accounting, Public Administration and Criminal Justice and 14 graduate degrees from its Master of Public Administration program.