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December 29, 2000 - Palikir, Pohnpei

Update from the President's Office - No. 175


Mid-Year Graduation.   The College's Mid-year graduation was held on Thursday, December 21, 2000, at 2:00 p.m. Father Francis X. Hezel, Director of Micronesian Seminar, delivered the commencement address, while John Paul Ori delivered the valedictory address. COM-FSM degrees and certificates were presented by Board of Regents Chairman Podis Pedrus, and University of Guam degrees were presented on behalf of the UOG Acting President by Dr. Marilyn Salas, Dean of the College of Education. FSM Secretary of Health Education and Social Affairs Eliuel Pretrick accepted the graduates on behalf of the FSM. The audience and graduates were treated to a graduation song by Abraham Rayphand and friends followed by announcement of the winner of the Timothy Jerry Scholarship. This scholarship went to Emiso Weilbacher, a spring 2000 graduate who is currently furthering her education at UH-Hilo. The invocation was given by Reverend Rensper Jack of the United Church of Christ Pohnpei, and the benediction was given by Deacon Adelino Lorens of St. Joseph Church in Awak. Vice President for Support and Student Affairs Ringlen Ringlen served as master of ceremony.

The spring 2000 graduation exercises could not be held due to the cholera outbreak at that time. As a result, the spring 2000 graduates were recognized at this year's mid-year graduation ceremony. A total of 150 students were listed on the program including 50 from spring 2000, 51 from mid-year 2000, 23 from Pohnpei Campus, 10 Related Services Assistants, and 16 fourth-year graduates (technically UOG graduates). An additional 24 students graduated from Chuuk Campus this past August. (See Update No. 166)

A big "Thank You" is expressed to the following persons for their help with the graduation ceremony:

Overall planning and preparation: Director of Student Services Lore Nena and members of the Student Services Committee

Invitations/Program/Ushers: Henry Wilson, Morehna Santos, Benina Ilon, Luciano Mathias, Dominic Maluchmai, Gloria Talley (Grand Marshall), and Christiano Houmwarek and Leonard Ekiek (flag bearers).

Set-up/Parking/Security: Director of Maintenance Francisco Mendiola, Nelsiro George, Patricio Ramirez, and the maintenance, recreation, and security staff

Marmars: Arbel Ben and Josephine Albert

Decorations: Nelsiro George, Patricio Ramirez, Salter Borong, Loatis Seneres, Quada Amor, Benina Ilon, Arinda Swingly, Akiko William, Ideth Malakai, Arbel Ben, Fusae Kurasuyama, Morehna Santos, Paula Haglelgam, Carlynn Manuel, SBA President Benrita Martin, and several dorm students

Reception: Jim Alexander and the cafeteria staff, Arbel Ben, Marion Luke, Morehna Santos, and Martina Padock

General Helpers: Ringlen Ringlen, Lore Nena, Lucy Donre, Wilson Kalio, Jonathan Gourlay, and Patricia Jack.

Fundraising.   The 300 Club Raffle which had been scheduled for December 8, 2000, has been rescheduled for May 5, 2001, to allow additional time to sell all of the tickets. That is good news for those of you who have not yet purchased a ticket. Although the tickets may seem expensive at $200 each, the prizes are outstanding and are as follows: $10,000; $5,000; $3,000; $2,000; $1,000; $1,000; $1,000; 2 round trip tickets to Manila with hotel accommodations (donated by Air Nauru); 2 round trip tickets to Guam with hotel accommodations (donated by Air Nauru); $500 worth of gas (donated by Mobil Oil); and $500 worth of gas (donated by Mobil Oil). If you do not feel you can afford a ticket on your own, try getting a group together and sharing the cost. (The COM-FSM Business Office staff did this last year and ended up with a major cash prize.) Please see any Fundraising Steering Committee member for a ticket.

Special appreciation is expressed to members of the Fundraising Steering Committee who have been working hard to sell these tickets.

EPIC meeting.   On the afternoon of December 18, 2000, I attended a meeting of the Economic Policy Implementation Council (EPIC) which was held at the Central Facilities Building in Palikir. Present at the meeting were the FSM President and Vice President, FSM Congress Speaker and members of Congress, Governors and Speakers from the four FSM States, members of the President's Cabinet, and other staff. Of special interest was the discussion of the U.S. counter proposal on the Compact of Free Association which was the first item on the agenda. During this discussion I had the opportunity to express the concern of the COM-FSM Board of Regents regarding the proposal which specifically excludes postsecondary from use of the funds earmarked for education and excludes USDA from the list of agencies which will continue to provide federal program funds. Land Grant program funds are provided by USDA. A letter summarizing the Board's concerns had been forwarded to the FSM Chief Negotiator on December 8, 2000, with copies to the FSM Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and the Executive Director of JCN. On the bright side, however, it appears that under the terms of the counter proposal, eligibility for US Federal Financial Assistance programs would continue for FSM students.

Personnel.   A warm welcome is extended to Mr. Rioichy Johnny who was hired as the Coordinator for the Chuuk Bilingual Education Career Ladder Program effective December 19, 2000. We are glad to have Rioichy working with the College.

New Year's Greeting.   I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and prosperous New Year!

More Next Time!
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