UH West Oʻahu graduates kicked off the summer with diplomas in hand following Saturday’s spring commencement. Hundreds of family of friends looked on as graduates received bachelor’s degrees and certificates at a breezy morning ceremony in the UH West Oʻahu Courtyard on May 7. Interim Chancellor Doris Ching presided over the ceremony along with student emcees Marousha Moore and Haylie Culp while UH West Oʻahu graduate Ashley Mae Ramos sang the National Anthem and Hawaiʻi Ponoī. The spring 2016 commencement marks the University’s 40th anniversary serving Hawaiʻi students and their families.
Keynote speaker Chief Justice of the Hawaiʻi State Supreme Court Mark Recktenwald spoke about University’s humble beginnings in 1976 and how far UH West Oʻahu has come over the past 40 years. “It took a lot of grit, determination, and heart to build this school into what it is today, and those qualities are all reflected in you graduates, the heirs of that proud tradition,” said Recktenwald.
Spring 2016 graduate and Outstanding English Student award winner Tiffany Shelton gave an inspirational address about her time at UH West Oʻahu and the personal challenges she faced while pursuing her degree. “My family had fallen apart so my motivation to succeed here was definitely sparse,” remarked Shelton. “Every faculty member that I spoke to went out of their way to aide me. My professors that I had previously thought were so strict had bent their own rules to give me a chance.”
Shelton encouraged fellow graduates to keep meeting challenges head-on and said “This paper (diploma) is reflective of our drive towards individual success, and our drive to better ourselves. This paper tells the world that Pueo soar above all challenges that stand in our way.”
View the complete spring 2016 commencement video on the UH West Oʻahu YouTube page: