The University of Guam conferred degrees to 246 graduates at its Fanuchånan 2020 commencement ceremony Sunday.
There were 85 master’s degrees awarded, the largest number of master’s degrees ever conferred by the university in a semester, according to a news release from the school. There were 161 bachelor’s degrees awarded.
The ceremony took place virtually. It can be viewed online at www.facebook.com/UniversityofGuam.
“These are unprecedented times and that we’re all living through a historic challenge,” said UOG President Thomas W. Krise. “But this class of graduates of the University of Guam has been resilient and flexible and supportive in the spirit of the CHamoru values of chinchule’ and inafa’maolek.”
Class valedictorian Maya D. Nanpei said she found a sense of belonging and support at UOG that helped her overcome ADHD.
“I hope that we leave our time at UOG feeling like we belonged to something outside of ourselves and use that feeling to inspire us in future endeavors,” she said.
She said graduating during a pandemic was a challenge “in a league of its own.”
The keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Edison P. Manaloto, a two-time UOG alumnus and the 2006 UOG valedictorian. He returned to Guam as a medical doctor at Guam Regional Medical City, the release stated.
He remembers some of his classmates weren’t dreaming big.
“The problem was not a lack of talent or skill — that is abundant — but an inherent fear to dream and to dream big. Looking back, I realized a false sense of insecurity that surrounds many of our island’s youth growing up,” he said. “Many fail to see their own uniqueness and talents. They fail to claim what is rightfully theirs, which is a seat at the table.”
Manaloto earned his bachelor’s in accounting in 2006, a master’s in public administration in 2007, both from the University of Guam, and became a certified public accountant in 2008 as well as a certified governmental financial manager.
Later, he applied for medical school at De La Salle Health Sciences Institute in the Philippines and became a doctor of medicine in 2015 and completed his residency at the University of Hawaii in June, the release stated.
The ceremony also recognized two honorary degree recipients.
- Rosalia Fejeran Mateo, a master traditional healer — or yo’åmte — for 64 years and one of the few remaining indigenous experts in her field, received the honorary degree of master of Micronesian traditional knowledge. Better known as “Mama Chai,” she has healed thousands of clients through herbal medicine and massage and was instrumental in opening Guam’s first Traditional Healing Center at Sagan Kotturan Chamorro in 2016.
- Rlene S. Steffy was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. Steffy is a mass communications specialist of 42 years with a diverse career as a writer, journalist, talk show host and documentarian.
- For complete details, visit https://url.uog.edu/commencement.