NCU Celebrates Its Graduates, Year of the Laity

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By: Andrew Burrows, Communication Director, ATCU


Under the theme Onward, Upward, and Beyond, the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) held its annual graduation exercises at the University’s Gymnatorium in Mandeville, Jamaica during the weekend of August 9-11, 2013.

In his address at both commencement services on Sunday, August 10, Dr. Trevor Gardner, president of NCU, announced that in an effort to ease the financial sacrifice, the administration decided to freeze tuition increase for the 2013/2014 academic year.

"There will be further student payment options with a view to making fewer increases for the duration of studies across the disciplines," Dr. Gardner said.

During his remarks, Dr. Leonard A. Johnson, president of Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU) and vice chairman of the university board, challenged the graduands to hold themselves to the high standards and values they had been taught at NCU.

“Do not short change or sell yourself for monetary gain or position, status or fame, for the stories of Joseph and Daniel teach us that all of these could be gotten by faithfulness to God, His church, and His word.”

Dr. Johnson also commended Dr. Trevor Gardner for the numerous times he has sought to identify with the various initiatives and meetings of ATCU, given that NCU is owned and operated by two entities, the Jamaica Union (JAMU) and ATCU.
“This is healthy as it underscores that NCU is jointly owned by JAMU and ATCU,” Dr. Johnson said.

In addition to the 1,058 students who received certifications, including bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees, three persons received honorary doctorate degrees.

The Honourable Oliver Clarke, chairman of the Gleaner Company Limited and the speaker for the first commencement service, received the Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree. Elder George W. Brown and Pastor Wilton McDonald were both conferred the Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree. Elder George W. Brown, a former president of the Inter-American Division, was the speaker for the second commencement ceremony. Pastor Wilton McDonald, who currently serves as a district pastor, ministerial secretary, and publishing director for the Cayman Islands Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, has devoted more than 41 years of service to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, mostly in the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands.

Also at the ceremony and in celebration of 2013 as the Year of Laity in the Inter-American Division, eight lay people from both the Atlantic Caribbean Union and the Jamaica Union received special awards for their contribution in evangelism. Among them were David Campbell from the Cayman Islands Conference, Vernal Rolle from the South Bahamas Conference, and Osaias Joseph from the Turks and Caicos Islands Mission.

Felcia Datus of the South Bahamas Conference, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Primary Teacher Education, shared her testimony during the Sabbath afternoon service.

"I wouldn't change my experience at NCU for anything in the world. There are not many universities where friends would gather around you to pray when you are at a low point. To leave university with a degree but no knowledge of Christ is vain. NCU gave me both, Christ and a degree."

According to the university’s website, NCU currently has an enrollment of over 5000 students from 34 countries including the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

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