University of St. Martin Celebrates 30th Commencement

June 25, 2024

USM proudly hosted its 30th Commencement Exercise on Saturday, June 22nd, at the Simpson Bay Resort Ballroom, marking a significant milestone as the university is also celebrating its 35th anniversary.
The theme of the evening, "Celebrating Resilience. Embracing Change," encapsulated the spirit of the event, which honored the achievements of 25 graduates.

The ceremony was a full house, with over 200 attendees, including distinguished guests such as the Honorable Prime Minister Luc Marcellina, Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor Veronica Jansen and her Chief of Staff, Minister of Finance Marinka Gumbs, and other dignitaries. The evening's entertainment was provided by the National Institute of Arts (NIA) Performing Orchestra, adding a festive touch to the celebrations while showcasing the talent of NIA’s work.

USM President Dr. Antonio Carmona Baéz and Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Gale Rigobert delivered inspiring remarks, emphasizing the importance of resilience and adaptability in today's ever-changing world. Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Education, Youth, Culture, and Sports, Ms. Malaika Hickenson, also addressed the graduates, along with former Dean and proud USM alumna, Dr. Rolinda Carter.

The graduating class included 10 graduates from the degree program, 11 from the GED program, and 4 who completed the last level of the ESL course. The 2024 class address was shared between Nishita Vashandani and Darwin Pena Ventura, who eloquently reflected on their academic journey and future aspirations. Dr. Karen Brown, Dean of the School of Education from UVI, delivered a heartfelt speech and announced her retirement as Dean, making the evening even more memorable.

Special recognitions were given during the ceremony. Darwin Pena Ventura received the USM Foundation Award and the Dean of Academics Award for achieving Magna Cum Laude. The President’s Award was presented to Nishita Vashandani. Graduates Nishion Powell and Charles-Constant Rollan also achieved Magna Cum Laude status, while Carmen Berkel was honored with Summa Cum Laude for her outstanding GPA of 3.75 - 4.00.

The GED certificates were awarded by USM Dean of Academic Affairs and Coordinator of the GED program, Lisa Davis-Burnett, and the ESL certificates by USM President Dr. Carmona and ESL Coordinator Corinne Lejuez-van Putten. The ceremony concluded with a special presentation by Owen Jack-Goudett, induction by USM alumna Ria Khudan, and a vote of thanks by USM faculty member Edna Evan. The Faculty Award was given to Ms. Karen Hana for her exceptional contributions.

As USM looks to the future, new programs are set to launch throughout the rest of the year, including an Associate of Science degree in Networking and Digital Technology, Performing 101, Introduction to Performing Arts, and Dance 101 under the Associate of Arts in Performing Arts, in partnership with NIA. The University of St. Martin extends its heartfelt congratulations to all the graduates and wishes them continued success in their future endeavors. USM remains committed to providing quality education and expanding opportunities for the people of St. Martin and surrounding islands .


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