The University of Guam celebrated the accomplishments of 242 graduates during Fanuchånan (Fall) 2016 Commencement Ceremony at the UOG Calvo Field House today. UOG conferred 185 undergraduate degrees and 57 graduate degrees.
In his welcoming remarks, President Robert Underwood encouraged the students to serve a higher purpose and quoted journalist Tom Brokaw: “You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.”
At the end of his remarks, Underwood revealed a new hand signal that is unique to the University of Guam. Mentioning the “shaka” of the University of Hawaii and the “Hook’em Horns” of the University of Texas, Underwood held three fingers up to symbolize the Trident of the University of Guam Tritons.
“We are all Tritons, and we know we are supposed to fulfill the mission of UOG in ina, deskubre, setbi (to enlighten, to discover, to serve), Underwood declared. “We know that our mascot the Triton carries a trident which represents this three-pronged approach to learning and meaning in our lives. But we must awaken that spirit in us with a hand gesture that unites us all as Tritons, especially as we look to the future and as we go our separate ways.”
The Trident hand signal was met with enthusiastic cheers from the graduates and audience.
Commencement speaker Brigadier General Tracy L. Smith, an alumna of the University of Guam, shared some of her lessons learned throughout her career in the U.S. Army Reserve. One lesson was on “212 Leadership.” She explained that water is hot at 211 degrees, but boils at 212 degrees.
“Water boils and creates steam and gets the engine going,” she said. “Find your passion, find what it takes for you to get to that boiling point. It takes that extra degree to get things done….strive for that extra degree.
Class Valedictorian Sean Rios Rupley challenged his fellow graduates to give back. “The challenge…is to take everything we’ve learned from this experience—the formal lessons from the classrooms and the informal lessons from our interactions—and pay them back to everyone who has invested in us. What we’re doing makes Guam a better place to live.”
Rupley, who is from Agana Heights, double majored in Sociology and Communication.
The largest number of graduates came from the UOG School of Business and Public Administration, which conferred a combined 92 undergraduate degrees in Business Administration, Accounting, Public Administration and Criminal Justice and a combined 23 graduate degrees from its Professional Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Administration programs.
The School of Education conferred the most graduate degrees with a combined 29 in its Master of Arts in Counseling, Master of Arts in Teaching, and Master of Education programs.