Guam – On its 60th Anniversary as an institution of higher learning the University of Guam Sunday graduated 282 students who received degrees in various disciplines from education to business.
It was an historic graduation ceremony which saw the awarding of the 14-thousandth degree and a commencement address from U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the first time a U.S. cabinet level official has spoken at a UOG graduation ceremony.
In his introduction to Secretary LaHood, UOG President Dr. Robert Underwood, praised the Transportation Secretary for being a “leader in bi-partisanship” while he served on the House floor with Underwood when Underwood was Guam’s delegate to Congress. “He reached out to the other side,” said the UOG President and “he made working with everyone part of his approach to leadership.”
LaHood spoke without notes or a script. He first joked with parents about how they will have some extra money to spend, now that their children have graduated.
LaHood went on to declare that “relationships are the key to success.”
“The reason why I became a Congressman was because I wanted to help solve some of the country’s problems … but I got there because of the relationships with people who helped me along the was” and “good relationships help forge good policy,” he said.
In his own address to the graduates, UOG President Dr. Robert Underwood said “Across this stage today we will be reminded about who we are as an island people, about being the inheritors of a proud Triton tradition that reflects the best from the past and a profound hope for the future.” And in conclusion Underwood brought the crowd to its feet with the call “Say it loud, say it proud, Biba UOG!”
LaHood was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University.
The 14,000th graduate from UOG was Jan Ronnie Nilo Vallarta who graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) and Accounting. He received a UOG gift bag and a plaque of the UOG “Big G.”
The University also awarded its second honorary Master of Micronesian Traditional Knowledge to Jesus “Chamorro” Charfauros. Charfauros has been a pioneer of the Chamorro language and cultural.
The first Master of Micronesian Traditional Knowledge was awarded by UOG in May 2010 to master navigator Mr. Manny Ikea Sikau.
The Class Valedictorian was Ronald Frendol Doculan who graduated with a degree in Education.