333 earn degrees at UOG commencement

333 earn degrees at UOG commencement

333 earn degrees at UOG commencement

Graduates of the Bachelor of Arts in Education – Elementary Education program (from left) Celina Devera, Abigail Javier, and Jennifer McCoy.
UOG President Thomas W. Krise tips his hat to acknowledge the graduates’ completion of degree requirements.
The Fañomnåkan 2022 Commencement Ceremony on May 22 in the Calvo Field House.
Professional Master of Business Administration graduate Bernadette Capindo gives the trident symbol.
Anthony Rivera celebrates as he crosses the commencement stage to receive his bachelor’s in civil engineering.
Master of Social Work graduates through the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa–University of Guam MSW Partnership program (from left) Alina Butler, Zamantha Zamora, Nina Baluran, Arthur Paulino, Kaileilani San Miguel, Clariann Clark, and Marleen Castro.

The University of Guam conferred degrees Sunday to 333 graduates at its Fañomnåkan 2022 Commencement Ceremony in the Calvo Field House. 

Of 269 bachelor’s degrees conferred, the highest numbers were in business administration with 42 graduates, nursing with 32 graduates, and biology with 31 graduates — 23 of which had bio-medical concentrations. 

For master’s degrees, of 64 conferred — which is up nearly 30% from last year — the most common were the Master of Arts in Teaching with 16 graduates and the Professional Master of Business Administration with 11 graduates. 

UOG President Thomas W. Krise noted the significance of this class, aligning with the university’s 70th anniversary year, and encouraged the graduates to find ways to “lift up others” and perpetuate UOG’s work of “Transforming Lives and Advancing Communities.”

Makisimino VeimauAmong the graduates was 57-year-old veteran Makisimino Veimau, who earned his bachelor’s in civil engineering. He enrolled in the program to advance what he has learned in the construction field but also to inspire his children and grandchildren. 

“‘If grandpa can do it at 50, we can do it, too’ — this type of mindset will be in my family from this day forward,” he said. 

Veimau plans to pursue work in Guam in which he can utilize his discipline of hydraulic systems to improve the roads.

Also earning degrees on Sunday were nine Bachelor of Social Work alumni from UOG who have now completed their Master of Social Work through a distance-education partnership program between UOG and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. The partnership has produced 28 graduates since 2014 — the majority of whom work within the region in an administrative capacity for agencies and organizations that assist the vulnerable. 

Commencement speaker: ‘It is up to you to make the world a better place’

Dr. John Ray TaitanoAs student interest in medical fields is growing, the university invited UOG alumnus and former student body president Dr. John Ray Taitano, now an internal medicine specialist and president and co-founder of The Doctors’ Clinic in Tamuning, to deliver the commencement address. 

Taitano was the first UOG graduate to be accepted into medical school, the first CHamoru to graduate from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a Doctor of Medicine, the first CHamoru physician to graduate from the U.S. Army War College, and the first state surgeon of the Guam Air and Army National Guard. 

“The degrees that you earn tonight will open many doors and many opportunities,” he said. “[…] You have the tools and the education, and it is up to you to put your knowledge and skills to the test and make the world a better place.” 

Valedictorian: ‘We each have a part’

The graduates also heard from Valedictorian Darlene Ferrer, who graduated with bachelor’s degrees in both chemistry and biology with aspirations of attending medical school and becoming a physician-scientist. 

“We may come from different ethnic backgrounds, be from different disciplines, graduating with different degrees, or [each have] our own talents. Regardless, we each have a part in this community,” she said.

She addressed the feeling of “imposter syndrome” that she said is common among students from Guam when pursuing competitive off-island opportunities. Ferrer applied for many stateside research programs as an undergraduate, and she said she always questioned why they chose her over someone smarter or more skillful.

She said, “… one thing a stateside scholar told me that changed my mind — they said, ‘Think about it this way: You were chosen because you are on the level as someone who is going to Harvard or NYU or even UCLA. The only difference is that you brought something new, a new perspective — from Guam.” 

Darlene Ferrer, Valedictorian
(From left) Anita Borja Enriquez, senior vice president and provost; Lee S. Yudin, dean of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences; Darlene Ferrer, class valedictorian and chemistry-biology dual bachelor’s recipient; Thomas W. Krise, president; and Kate Moots, interim associate dean, CNAS.
Ferrer has been accepted into the Doctoral Diversity Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a two-year post-baccalaureate program designed to develop scholars from diverse backgrounds for careers in medical professions. The program has a 3% to 5% acceptance rate, admitting five to eight scholars per year.

Ferrer’s aim is to return to Guam to find solutions to issues affecting the local population and the health care system.

Honorary degree recipients

The UOG Board of Regents awarded three honorary degrees during the ceremony. Honorary degrees are a means of recognizing experts and distinguished individuals whose personal or professional endeavors complement the University’s role and have made long-lasting contributions to society.

Commencement speaker Taitano received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Patrick U. Tellei, president of Palau Community College, was honored with a Doctor of Humane Letters. And Donald Benavente Mendiola, an indigenous expert, traditional healer, master weaver, and teacher of Chamoru language in Saipan, was honored with a Master of Micronesian Traditional Knowledge.

Honorary degrees
University of Guam President Thomas W. Krise, left, and Board of Regents Chair Liza Provido, right, award honorary degrees to Donald Mendiola, center left, and Dr. John Ray Taitano at the Fañomnåkan 2022 Commencement Ceremony on May 22 in the Calvo Field House.

Photos and video

The recorded ceremony will remain viewable on UOG’s Facebook page at and on UOG’s YouTube channel

Photos of each graduate will also be available soon for download at www.flickr.com/photos/uogtritons/albums