PALIKIR, Pohnpei-The College of Micronesia-FSM held its 56th Commencement Exercises on Dec. 20, 2012, at the FSM-China Friendship Sports Center, located at the National Campus in Palikir.
At the ceremony, attended by graduating students, dignitaries, staff, administrators, a regent, faculty, family and friends, Sen. Dohsis Halbert from the FSM Congress rallied the college leadership and graduating students to always have courage. As the keynote speaker, Halbert encouraged everyone never to give in to obstacles that impede progress, but to always show courage. Halbert also called on the COM-FSM Board of Regents to never give in to challenges that interfere with accomplishing the great mission of the college.
The ceremony started at 9am with a procession by the graduating students, members of the college faculty, college administrators, and dignitaries into the celebration venue. Grand Marshal Professor Emmanuela Garcia, Faculty of the Year from Pohnpei Campus, carried the college mace and led the procession. The flag bearers, the graduating students, the college faculty, and finally the college administrators and the dignitaries followed the grand marshal.
Besides the flags of the Federated States of Micronesia and the four FSM states of Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk, and Yap, the procession also featured flags from Japan, United Kingdom, Palau, Sri Lanka, Canada, India, Romania, United States of America, China, Germany, Philippines, Fiji, Kiribati, American Samoa, Cameroon, and Lithuania. These flags represent the diversity of the college community.
Vice President for Student Services Ringlen P. Ringlen gave the welcoming remarks after the invocation by Pastor Epel Ilon and the singing of the Micronesian Anthem.
“As an institution of higher education, no event in the college is as important as commencement exercises. For our students it is a time to recognize and celebrate their academic accomplishments. For the families of our students, commencement provides yet another point of pride. For all of us and for our faculty most especially, commencement is an opportunity to acknowledge our work and success in educating the young men and women who represent the future hopes, dreams and aspirations of the FSM. We believe in what we do here at the college. Thank you all for believing and working with us to transform lives through this institution,” said Ringlen.
He said that the college is grateful for the restoration of $700,000 to its FY 2013 Budget by FSM President Mori and FSM Congress and called for their support in the years to come. Ringlen said the college is also grateful for broad participation it received while reviewing its mission, that the college's strategic plan was developed through broad collaboration, that a proposal from BECA will contribute toward the development to the college's facilities master plan, and that those who attend the 56th Commencement Exercise took part in the celebration of the college's most important event.
Laura Fujimoto, a graduate and secretary for the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, gave a presentation on their Project Graduation.
Halbert's keynote address was followed by the conferral of academic honors by COM-FSM president Joseph M. Daisy, Ed.D. and vice president for Instructional Affairs Mariana Ben Dereas to graduates who earned high grade point averages.
Next was the valedictory speech, which was delivered by Brandy Marie F. Yinug, who reminded the graduates to always remember that they are Micronesians.
The college was fortunate to have the University of Guam dean of the School of Education, Frankie Santos Laanan, Ph.D, who joined Dereas and presented the graduates to the Board of Regents chairman Kasio Mida for his conferral of degrees and certificates of achievements. The College of Micronesia-FSM and the University of Guam entered into an agreement in 2002 and developed a partnership BA program in Elementary Education and is offering it at COM-FSM. Laanan's participation at the ceremony signifies the existing partnership between UOG and COM-FSM.
After the acceptance of the graduates by FSM Secretary of Education Rufino Mauricio, Ph.D., the graduates received their diplomas followed by the turning of the tassels led by Daisy.
Pastor Epel Ilon concluded the celebration with a benediction followed by the recessional. (PR)