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    Thursday, October 18, 2018-10:43:28P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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NMC Class of 2018 ‘biggest in history’

THE Class of 2018 holds the distinction of being the biggest in the history of Northern Marianas College, NMC president Dr. Carmen Fernandez said.

On Saturday, at the Marianas High School gym, 257 NMC students received their diplomas during the 38th commencement exercises. Ten graduated summa cum laude; 22, magna cum laude; and 49, cum laude.

NMC’s first president, Dr. Catherine “Kit” Porter Van Meter.NMC’s first president, Dr. Catherine “Kit” Porter Van Meter.

In her keynote speech, Dr. Catherine “Kit” Porter Van Meter,  NMC’s first president, said the college’s first graduation ceremony was held in Aug. 1982.

Seventeen students received their associate degrees and eight received their bachelor’s degrees, she said, adding that NMC had seven staff members: Jean E. Olopai, Abel R. Olopai, Susan T. Mafnas, Luis N. Limes, Jose C. Deleon Guerrero and Luis S. Chong.

Back then, Van Meter said, their students were older, were already working and had their own families.

In 1978, when the NMI became a commonwealth, some people who were already teaching had experience and training, but not degrees, she added. They were among NMC’s first graduates.

She said a certification policy for teachers required all teachers to have an associate degree by 1983.

“It was hard for women to go off-island and get higher education,” Van Meter said. “Because of NMC, it was possible for them to achieve this without leaving their homeland and families.”

She added, “When I was here, we were just starting to move to the community college. We had a few rooms. Look at the campus now and its wonderful facilities. This is amazing,” she said in an interview.

Van Meter recalled that when NMC was established, they were sharing classrooms with Marianas High School students.

“We were in a building —  MHS. We used it at night. We had a computer lab. We were able to get computers so that high school students could also use them,” she added.

Northern Marianas College held its 38th Commencement Exercise on Saturday at the  Marianas High School gym.  Photos by Lori Lyn C. Lirio Northern Marianas College held its 38th Commencement Exercise on Saturday at the Marianas High School gym. Photos by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

“We had to go to Washington D.C. and convince people that NMI had a college and needed help. It was a big time for change — from Trust Territory to a commonwealth, and everyone was involved in making that change.”

She said when the community college was just moving into its present facility, she left NMC to pursue a doctorate at Harvard University.

In her keynote speech, Van Meter told the Class of 2018:  “It is not always of value to accept the view of others. On your new path as college graduates, you will have to know when to be confident in your own knowledge of who you are.”

She advised the graduates “to let people help you find your path along the way —  people who have already walked where you want to walk.”

During the commencement exercises, 10 students who obtained the highest grade point average received the Academic Excellence Award:

1) Patrick Cloyde Laude Agustin, Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration: Accounting Emphasis

2) Siha Ahn, Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts

3) Renedel Christian Untalan Buno, Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration: Computer Applications Emphasis

4) Josephine N. Estrada, Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice

5) Do Hyeon Kwon, Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration: Accounting Emphasis

6) Glory Nina Toledo Legaspi, Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration: Computer Applications Emphasis

7) Lizelle Kathleen Castillo Lim, Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration: Accounting Emphasis

8) Maia David Pangelinan, Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts

9) David Bona Phan, Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts

10) Yijia Zhao, Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts

The Governor’s Leadership Award went to Roman Franklin M. Tudela for exhibiting outstanding leadership skills in college and in the community.

For showing service-leadership in the college and community, Elvielynn Cepada Santos is this year’s Excellence in Service awardee.