NMC confers 265 degrees on Class of 2023
Northern Marianas College conferred 265 degrees and certificates to the graduating Class of 2023 last Friday in a jam-packed Marianas High School Gymnasium.
Four graduating students received Excellence in Service and Leadership awards, four received Academic Achievement awards, 11 graduated summa cum laude, 53 graduated magna cum laude, and 64 graduated cum laude.
The Excellence in Service Award for the Associate Degree programs went to Jaden Deleon Guerrero Villacrusis, who earned an Associate of Science in Natural Resource Management; the Excellence in Service Award for the Baccalaureate Degree went to Shannon Tudela Sasamoto, who obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Management.
The recipient of the Excellence in Leadership Award for the Associate Degree was Jefferson Sanchez Cunanan, who obtained an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts, Education Emphasis. The recipient of the Excellence in Leadership Award for the Baccalaureate Degree was Tania Peters David, who obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Management.
The four Academic Achievement Awards went to Lou Kristine Baylon Cruz, Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration Accounting Emphasis; Dino Rafael Taitano Jr., Bachelor of Science in Education, Elementary Education Concentration; Annel Louise Pulido Ligaya, Bachelor of Science in Education Early Childhood Education Concentration; and Alexander Donovan Aldan Tudela, Associate of Science in Natural Resource Management.
In his address, NMC president Dr. Galvin Deleon Guerrero said that college enrollment declined around the world during the pandemic, but not at NMC. “Our enrollment continues to climb. Our graduation rates continue to improve.”
He praised the testimonies of some graduates and what they went through to get their degrees. “These graduates and their stories are just a small sample of the many stories that affirm the value of education. And yes today, we celebrate the outcome that is their diplomas, but we also honor how much they have invested in those diplomas.”
The event’s keynote speaker, former lawmaker Christina-Marie “Tina” E. Sablan, who is currently the senior policy advisor for the Office of the Governor, thanked the Class of 2023 for choosing her to deliver the keynote. “In all my interactions with you, I’ve come away energized, feeling hopeful, that the future of these islands and the future of this planet is in good hands,” she said.
Sablan said that nothing about the college experience of the Class of 2023 was normal. “You began at NMC with pods given by FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps after more than 90% of your campus was destroyed by Super Typhoon Yutu. And then the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the whole world and your classes transitioned online. You went on campus briefly and then the surge happened—and back online you went. For many of you, the vast majority of your college experience was online. As if taking classes in tents and during a pandemic wasn’t hard enough, you carried tremendous responsibilities outside of school…and yet, you persevered. You adapted with grace and humor. …You thrived, and you survived.”
The student commencement address after the conferral of certificates was made by Jelbert Quitugua, who obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. He said, “Each class is defined by some universal theme like family, pride, lineage, history. What do you think defines our Class of 2023? It seems to me, our current circumstance, our new normal, our world, and everyone in it, may now need more than ever navigators to help us sail through seas of uncertainty. We will remember our struggles, sacrifices, and success— witnessed not only here today, but onward as we wayfind the waters of our future.”