CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Governor Kenneth Mapp congratulated the 2018 graduates of the University of the Virgin Islands at the 54th commencement ceremony on Thursday.
Families, friends and well-wishers packed the UVI Sports and Fitness Center on St. Thomas to witness the occasion.
Mapp encouraged the graduates to consider applying for government and private sector jobs within the territory to assist in the rebuild with billions of dollars dedicated to its recovery.
“A number of those dollars will be used for hiring and recruitment across the government,” Mapp said. “Seize the great opportunity to work for the Government of the Virgin Islands. Things are getting better and salaries are on the rise.”
UVI President David Hall said that the graduation represented the graduates’ perseverance despite academic and personal obstacles. “The students faced two Category 5 hurricanes that could have dramatically delayed the fulfillment of their dreams, yet they rose to the challenge,” Hall said.
Class speaker Che-Raina Warner shared her personal story of success navigating a new environment and cultural landscape during her trip to China last year.
“If there is any lesson I took from China, it’s that if we avoid difficult things, great things will avoid us,” Warner said. “Class of 2018, we have got to see beyond our limits, we have got to be fearless. We have to take that chance, take a leap of faith.”
The University was particularly honored to have Danny Glover, acclaimed actor, producer, political activist and humanitarian as this year’s keynote speaker. Glover urged the students to remember the indomitable will they displayed, as well as the strength of their community in the face of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Glover told the members of the Class of 2018 that they are a source of inspiration for him.
“No adversity can break you. No storm can wash you away,” Glover said. “The work you will do in the world should always reflect the best. It should heal, it should repair, it should restore and revitalize. Never forget the fortitude and courage it took to succeed. You have made UVI and the world proud.”
Glover was awarded an honorary degree, along with local radio personalities Athniel “Addie” Ottley of WSTA and former Senator Holland Redfield for their achievement at the highest level of their professional careers.
The UVI – Albert A. Sheen Campus ceremony is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Friday, May 18, 2018 on St. Croix. Over 300 degrees are being conferred on both campuses.