“A transformative journey”: UOG, families celebrate Fanuchånan 2023 graduates
Family members, friends, and dignitaries from across the Micronesia region gathered to celebrate 220 graduates during the University of Guam’s Fanuchånan 2023 Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, December 17, at the UOG Calvo Field House.
The commencement speaker, a former high school dropout who grew up poor, and became an internationally known motivational and keynote speaker, shared some of his most life-changing lessons.
Dr. Samuel Betances said before he got accepted into college, he volunteered for jobs that no one else wanted, and in doing so received mentorship that encouraged him to read.
“Read memoirs about people who had it tougher than you that bounced back and managed to excel,” said Dr. Betances, who holds a master’s degree and a doctoral degree in education from Harvard University.
He urged the graduates to continue learning, become someone’s mentor, and be part of change for a better community.
“The fires are raging, and it is your turn to hold the hose,” he said, receiving an enthusiastic response from the graduates, their family members, and friends.
UOG President Anita Borja Enriquez encouraged the graduates to share the University’s “values of respect, compassion and community.”
“Give back in your capacities as new professionals, as value-added critical thinkers and problem-solvers, be represented in all industry sectors, and work collaboratively and in harmony with and through others as Triton alumni,” the President said.
Aspiring psychologist Haley Mae M. Carreon is the valedictorian. Born in Guam and the daughter of Filipino immigrants Andy Carreon, an electrical engineer, and Shirley Carreon, an accountant, Haley Carreon credits her family’s strong support of her education since childhood. She said she practiced good time management, a solid work ethic, and the humility she learned from home. She studied psychology as her major and sociology was her minor.
“We gather here not just as graduates but also as people who have experienced a transformative journey, molded by the obstacles we have overcome, the knowledge we have gained, and the connections we have created here at UOG,” the valedictorian said. “Today is not just a culmination of four years of hard work, it is a celebration of resilience and growth.”
The graduates overcame almost three years of the pandemic and the devastation caused by Typhoon Mawar.
The commencement also celebrated 22 graduates who comprise the first cohort in the Master of Accountancy Program at the School of Business Administration.
Photos courtesy of University of Guam.