St. George’s University Alumnus Awarded Full-Tuition Commonwealth Scholarship

Kishon Francis, a 2015 graduate of St. George’s University’s School of Arts and Sciences, has received a full-tuition Commonwealth scholarship to pursue a Master of Science in computer communication networks at Brunel University in London. The scholarship covers all expenses associated with the one-year program, including Mr. Francis’ tuition, accommodation, meals, and general living expenses.

Kishon Francis joined by his sister, Kinda Francis.

Kishon Francis joined by his sister, Kinda Francis.

Mr. Francis obtained a Bachelor of Science in information technology from SGU. He began his studies at Brunel in September, and is one of two Grenadians to receive this academic scholarship this year.

“I feel like I’m on top of the world,” said Mr. Francis. “This scholarship is one of the most difficult Commonwealth scholarships to obtain, and it feels great to be selected from among so many qualified candidates.”

“Not only are Commonwealth scholarships prestigious, but the kind of Commonwealth scholarship Mr. Francis has been awarded is very rare, with a highly competitive application process. This is testimony to the quality of education he received from SGU,” added Mr. Colin Dowe, Assistant Dean of Enrolment Planning at SGU. “We are extremely proud of him. This is a fantastic honor and one worthy of commendation and celebration.”

The Commonwealth scholarship aims to support advancement in developing Commonwealth nations. Recipients not only have shown academic excellence but also the strong potential to create a significant impact in their home countries.

As an assistant lecturer at the T.A. Marryshow Community College, Mr. Francis has always been passionate about sharing with his students more than mere knowledge of the field, going beyond the curriculum to help them convert their knowledge into high performance and success in the workplace. After earning his network-engineering-focused Master of Science, he hopes to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in software engineering and return to Grenada to fulfill his vision.

“My goal and dream is to use the education I receive to launch a company which will help make technology in Grenada seamless, up-to-date, and on par with international standards,” Mr. Francis said.

Published on 10/6/16

Future Leaders Celebrate at Annual Grenada Commencement Ceremony

Nearly 400 students from 32 countries congregated at Patrick Adams Hall on May 14 for the annual Commencement Ceremony in Grenada. While they have different backgrounds and come from all over the world, the students from all four SGU schools leave the University well equipped to serve as future leaders of their communities.

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In the School of Arts and Sciences, more than 190 undergraduate degrees were conferred and included Bachelors of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc). Degrees were also conferred on over 80 School of Graduate Studies students from, 86 students from the School of Medicine, and one DVM graduate who joined the Grenada graduation. The remaining SOM and SVM 2016 classes will graduate at Lincoln Center in New York City next month.

“Go forth and lead. We’re expecting great things from you.” That was the message from keynote speaker, Mr. Jason Roberts MBE, former UK Premier League and international football striker. Mr. Roberts founded the Jason Roberts Foundation in 2007 as his family’s way of giving something back to society through sport, with the aim of supporting young people, celebrating diversity, and promoting respect across communities.

“The skills, knowledge and influence that you have acquired and will continue to acquire through your careers will have a great bearing not just on your own life but on the lives of others,” said Mr. Roberts. “I believe in the power of education and the value it brings to people’s lives. And unlike sport, your education is truly yours. You’ve earned it. And it will serve you for the remainder of your career and lives.”

In closing, he told the graduates that they “can change the world, and if your success can be measured by the impact of your work and the benefit you gave to society, then SGU, Grenada, the Caribbean, and the world will benefit.”

School of Arts and Sciences salutatorian Raluchukwu Attah reminded her fellow graduates that “the single most important tool you need to succeed is self confidence. Be confident in your abilities and avoid comparing your achievements to others. Rest assured that with determination, perseverance, and focus you will surely triumph.”

In addition to being keynote speaker, Mr. Roberts also received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from St. George’s University, along with fellow recipients Marion Greasley-Pierre, Executive Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Home and creator of the SGU MD student orphanage interaction program; and Bertha Pitt-Bonaparte, a well-respected and valued member of the SGU community who formed the SGU Chorale, which provides a platform for different groups with mutual passions for singing to come together in concert.

St. George’s University’s Gamma Kappa Chapter of the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society also welcomed two surprise inductees at this year’s ceremony. Unbeknownst to them, Dr. Charles R. Modica, Chancellor, and Dr. Calum Macpherson, Vice Provost and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, were inducted as honorary members for their local and global service in the area of public health. The Honor Society has inducted exemplary graduates and distinguished individuals since its establishment in 2012.

From SGU To WashU—SGU Alumnus Wins PhD Scholarship at Top Science Program

St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences graduate Gervette Penny has been awarded a full PhD scholarship to Washington University, one of the top science and research institutions in the US. Ms. Penny, who is one of only 80 students selected, will begin her studies in August in molecular genetics and genomics, an area that draws over 1,200 applications each year to the St. Louis-based institution.

Gervette Penny

“While I am sad to leave the home that I have found at St. George’s University, I believe that God has blessed me with a life-changing opportunity, and I am excited to begin a new chapter in my pursuit of a career as a scientist,” she said.

Becoming a scientist and studying genetics has long been her dream. Ms. Penny’s pursuit began formally when she matriculated to SGU as a life sciences student in 2007. After graduating in 2010, she became a Supplemental Learning Demonstrator in theDepartment of Educational Services, where her main role has been to conduct collaborative review groups in molecular biology and microbiology, and assist with the training of student facilitators and clinical tutors. For her dedication, she was awarded the Student Government Association (SGA) Outstanding Faculty Award for Exceptional Contribution and Continued Support of Students in Spring 2015.

Ms. Penny strengthened her application to Washington by completing the Stanford Genetics and Genomics Certificate Program, where she learned about personal genomics, progress in cancer genetics studies, developments in stem cell therapeutics and advances in personalized medicine in October 2015.

Born and raised in Grenada, Ms. Penny believes that her experiences as a faculty member at SGU, including workshops, conferences, training sessions, lab research and poster presentations, have been important contributors to her success. After completing her PhD, she aspires to contribute to the advancement of genetics research in her home country and in the Caribbean. She looks forward to continuing her development as a science educator by investing in the lives of young students through teaching. It is her hope that sharing her story will inspire others to believe in their dreams and diligently work towards them.

Ms. Penny credits Dr. Pensick for his encouragement and support while completing the certificate, saying that “his interest in genomics and his continual efforts to promote development of faculty and staff has been outstanding.” She also praised the efforts of Drs. Glen Jacobs, Peter Slinger, Andrew Sobering, Kathryn Gibson, Svetlana Kotelnikova, Mary Maj, and Abboud Ghalayini for allowing her to participate in research projects, and providing mentoring, encouragement and assistance during the application process. She also thanks her undergraduate professors—Drs. Clare Morrall, Joanna Rayner, and Antonia MacDonald, and Mr. Teddy Ikolo —as well as her co-workers in DES and friends on campus for their continual support.

“I will take with me the experiences, friendships and skills that I have gathered on my journey,” Ms. Penny said.

Published on 5/19/16

SGU Grad Working to Rebuild Grenada Reefs

Through a lengthy study, Kerricia Hobson, BSc SGU ’08, Project Manager in the Environment Division in Grenada?s Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, has identified several coral reefs in Grenada that have been adversely affected by rising sea temperatures and pollution.

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SAS and GSP Classes Implored to Seize the Moment at Graduation Ceremony

St. George’s University Graduates More Than 250 Students at Grenada Graduation

At the St. George’s University School of Arts Sciences and Graduate Studies Program commencement held at Patrick Adams Hall on May 16, the message to its more than 250 graduates was clear – the present, at all times, is the most important time in their lives because it is always a chance for them to define their role in the world.

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To emphasize her point, Gillian M.S. Bristol, former Ambassador of Grenada to the US, Mexico and the Organization of American States, and Keynote Speaker for the evening, cited author Leo Tolstoy’s novel “What Men Live by and Other Tales,” stating, “There is only one time that is important — now.” She explained that Tolstoy that the present is more significant than any other time, with the menu of possibilities and opportunities practically limitless.

“Now is when we choose, when we decide what we’re going to do, when we opt for one or another course of action,” Ambassador Bristol said. “Today I see before me a powerful group of accomplished dreamers for you hold in your hand not merely a certificate of scholarship, erudition, and expertise. You are geniuses who hold in this moment the single most important tool to carve your destiny: the power of now. So as you step out into the somewhat misty future, remember that each one of you is the designer and owner of all your future nows. You have that power.”

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In the School of Arts and Sciences, more than 150 undergraduate degrees were conferred a Bachelors of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc). These students represented 16 countries, with Grenadian students making up the majority of the graduates.

In her valedictory address, Donna Walker, BSc SGU ‘15, stated, “We bid farewell to a school which has perhaps been the most important influence in our lives thus far.” She went on to say that, although leaving SGU is bittersweet, the milestone was a victory in itself in that, in the truest sense, she and her classmates had all learned to think beyond.

Degrees were also conferred on over 100 students from the Graduate Studies Program, representing 15 countries across the globe. Fifty-four students received a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, 32 obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in Multi-Sector Health Management, 13 students earned an MBA in International Business, and two received a Master of Science Degree (MSc).

Born and raised in Monrovia, Liberia, Samfee Doe, MPH SGU ‘15, describes herself and her fellow graduates as healers who are prepared to address any number of public health issues, including in their home countries.

“The day when we have the opportunity to go out there and start making meaningful contributions to society as we know it has finally come,” said the 2015 class speaker. “The question is ‘are you prepared for the task ahead?’ Our dreams have expanded. We’ve gone beyond the boundaries of our countries just by being here at SGU. Let us go out into the world and leave our footprints.”

“In addition to the traditional commencement ceremonies, SOM graduates and, for the first time, a DVM graduate from Grenada walked the stage at the SAS/GSP graduation, allowing family and friends to celebrate the moment.” The rest of the SOM’s and SVM’s class of 2015 will graduate next month at Lincoln Center in New York City.

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Grenada’s First Female Governor General Addresses SAS/GSP Graduating Class

A jubilant class of 178 St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) and Graduate Studies Program (GSP) graduates received their degrees from Dr. Charles R. Modica, Chancellor of St. George’s University, on May 18, 2013 at the 2013 commencement held on campus in Grenada.

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The 2013 SAS/GSP class had the distinct honor of being addressed by Her Excellency Dr. Cecile La Grenade, first female Governor General of Grenada and Managing Director of De La Grenade Industries for 21 years. In her inspiring address, Her Excellency encouraged the graduates to continue learning, developing and growing and to aspire for great things.

“You are all now standing on the threshold of future greatness and the tools of personal success have been imparted to you,” Her Excellency began her address. ”As you begin your new adventure, it is now up to you to blaze forth a trail of activities which create value to your jobs and business ventures alike.”

The Distinguished Service Award, St. George’s University’s highest honor, was bestowed on Dr. John B. Davidson in recognition of and gratitude for his outstanding contribution to St. George’s University, his role in the development of the biochemistry department and its survival following Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and his long-standing friendship with the University.

Coincidentally, School of Arts and Sciences valedictorian, Karla Hood, spoke to her fellow graduates on making the most of every opportunity. MBA graduate Gwen Burbank, spoke on finding the best place to be, which she described as “the place where you feel what is right for you and what is good for the world at exactly the same time”.

The graduates, who represent 12 countries, join the over 13,000 St. George’s University graduates in medicine, veterinary medicine, public health, and other professions and disciplines who have worked in over 50 countries around the world.

SGU Marine Biologist Says Deteriorating Condition of Reefs Puts Strain on Fishing Industry

International Press Service

Clare Morrall, director of the marine biology program at St. George’s University, says that sea surface temperatures have strained the fishing industry in Grenada due to coral bleaching.
“When you’ve taken away the fish that would normally crop and harvest and keep that algae in check, you’ve got a situation which has happened throughout the Caribbean, when you get a change from coral dominated systems to algal dominated systems,” she said.

The chairman of the Southern Fishermen Association is reporting that fishermen are suffering financially because they are catching fewer fish, and that once-abundant fish species have disappeared.

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Several Firsts for SGU 2011 Graduating Class

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On Saturday, May 14, St. George’s University held its annual Commencement Ceremony for the School of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate Studies Program. More than 300 students took to the stage to receive their diplomas at Patrick Adams Hall, the University’s newest and largest auditorium. This year’s Commencement Day also marked several firsts for the University. The commencement included the first cohort sponsored by the University of Botswana to earn their Bachelor of Preveterinary Medical Sciences; the first class to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN); and the charter class graduation of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Multi-Sector Health Management.

Renowned Grenadian writer and poet, Dr. Merle Collins, OBE, PhD, was the keynote speaker, taking center stage to address all students and their families. Along with Dr. Collins, honored guests included Deputy Chair of the Conference of Churches in Grenada, Reverend Osbert James, PhD, and 2011 Distinguished Service Honoree Gloria Payne-Banfield, OBE, MSc. Ms. Payne-Banfield received St. George’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her outstanding service to the University; in acknowledgement of her long friendship with the University and leadership in forwarding its progress; and in gratitude for her advocacy and commitment to the evolution of graduate studies, research programs, and to the creation and development of the School of Arts and Sciences. Additionally, the University’s Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) presented the George B. Daniel Undergraduate Award to Ejaz Ramsingh, BS for his outstanding contribution to student life.

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In the School of Arts and Sciences, more than 250 undergraduate degrees were conferred and included Bachelors of Arts (BA), of Education (BEd), of Science (BS), or of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. Grenadian students made up the majority of the graduates and were addressed by Class Valedictorian, Alana Praimdass of Trinidad and Tobago. “It is important for us to realize that final examinations and graduation does not mark our end to the relationship we have with St. George’s University,” she emphasized during her speech. On behalf of the graduating class, Ms. Praimdass also expressed her gratitude for the support offered by the University staff and faculty. She reminded her fellow classmates, “We are the force that will drive this institution towards future success. We should wish to contribute in whichever manner possible to the enrichment and enhancement of the quality of education being received by the current and future students.”

The commence ceremony included a group of Batswana students—sponsored by the University of Botswana— to earn their BS in Preveterinary Medical Sciences in Grenada. Similarly, a handful of students who completed their first two years at Stony Brook University in New York also had their Bachelor’s degree conferred. Each of these students will continue onto the four-year veterinary medical program at St. George’s. Their graduation, and promotion into the School of Veterinary Medicine, speaks to the success of St. George’s collaboration with the University of Botswana and Stony Brook University.

The second half of the Commencement Day was dedicated to St. George’s graduate students. In the Graduate Studies Program, approximately 70 students earned their Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Public Health (MPH), or Master of Science (MSc) degrees. While four MBA graduates were members of the MBA in Multi-Sector Health Management charter class, the remaining MBA students specialized in the International Business.

MPH graduate, St. Lucian born Lydia Atkins, represented the graduate students during the ceremony as Class Speaker. Ms. Atkins joined St. George’s in 2010, excelling throughout her years in Grenada. She was selected as Class Speaker due to her unique combination of technical expertise and administrative experience in the health sector as well as community and youth development.

St. George’s University is proud of all its graduating students and confident its alumni will positively impact the world in each respective field.

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St. George’s and American University – A Unique Partnership, A Remarkable Experience

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St. George’s University student Krystle Noel recently returned from American University’s Washington DC campus. She is the first School of Arts and Sciences student to take advantage of the Washington Semester Program, a partnership between St. George’s University and American University. The International Business major spent her fall semester at American University—including a three week visit to China in November. Krystle has returned to the St. George’s campus with rave reviews of the program, saying, “This program reinforced so much of what I have learned at St. George’s—I felt very well prepared for participation in the program.”

Dr. Reccia Charles, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of the Department of Business, is behind the St. George’s partnership with American University. On the success of the first participant, Dr. Charles said, “In observing Krystle after her return, I can see a transformation in her outlook on the world as well as an increase in her overall confidence.” The Washington Semester Program allows students to research topics in their field of study, network with leaders and experts in their respective fields, engage in international travel, and build friendships with other college students— the byproduct of which is usually an increase in a student’s enthusiasm in their education. Dr. Charles continued, “I am very proud of Krystle’s success.”

The Washington Semester Program’s intense schedule included presentations from more than 50 guest speakers—including Krystle’s now favorite author, Pulitzer-winning New York Times columnist and author of The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Thomas Freidman. In addition to rigorous study, Krystle, along with her classmates, had the opportunity to visit various government agencies and corporations in the US and China, including the Library of Congress; the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman; the International Monetary Fund and World Bank; the United States Federal Reserve; the New York Stock Exchange; Goldman Sachs; Beijing’s Peking University, Hyundai, and IDC China; Shanghai’s Autodesk (the company which produces AutoCad); and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Additionally, Krystle volunteered at the Annual Global Services Summit and interned at the Center for Social Leadership.

“It was better than I thought possible,” commented Krystle. “The University put so much effort into making the experience remarkable. It is something that I will be able to draw from for the rest of my life.” Krystle was very impressed by the cultural diversity she met in the Washington Semester Program and was happy to have been exposed to the business cultures of both China and Washington DC.

Dr. Charles offered insight into some of the challenges of recruiting for a study abroad program for local students. “The families of some students are often reluctant to allow their children to study abroad or travel much on their own or with peers,” she said. “However, the Washington Semester Program offers a supervised compromise that is acceptable to parents, especially with available generous financial aid. This unique program gives students an opportunity they might not have otherwise had to expand their knowledge beyond the borders of their home country.”

The next group of students is expected to go to Washington DC in Fall 2011. Beginning this spring, directors of the Washington Semester Program plan to hold information sessions via video conference to answer any questions students may have regarding the program.

St. George’s University, which began its partnership with American University in 2009, is the only university in the Caribbean (apart from Puerto Rico) to be part of this affiliation. Dr. Charles and the rest of the University have high hopes for the partnership as it extends St. George’s mission to offer an international education beyond its Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, to a blossoming School of Arts and Sciences.

St. George’s University Welcomes UWI Chancellor at SAS and GSP Commencement

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Sir George Alleyne

On Saturday, May 15th St. George’s University (SGU) hosted its 2010 Commencement Ceremony in Charter Hall on the True Blue campus. The commencement was a combined ceremony of over 250 undergraduate and graduate students, 139 of whom are Grenada nationals.

Students and their families were honored by guest speaker Sir George Alleyne, Chancellor of the University of the West Indies and UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean. His poignant speech, “The Price of Privilege” emphasized each student’s responsibility as a privileged graduate of higher education and subsequent vessel of information; information that is to be shared for a greater good.

Having visited the University 30 years prior, Sir George Alleyne reflected upon how much the University has changed, and how its commitment to providing a superior, service-minded education to its student body now applies across many disciplines. As he addressed the graduates he expressed, “the great majority (of you) are from families in which a university graduate represents the exception rather than the rule.” He informed the graduates that “a university education provides benefits that goes beyond the individual graduate,” and challenged them to play an active and positive role in instituting societal change; change that addresses discrimination in all its existing forms.

“The currency in which you will pay this price of privilege has compassion, engagement, and commitment among its highest denominations,” said Sir George Alleyne. With the understanding that many of the graduates will likely occupy positions of influence and power in their countries, he charged them to apply the skills they acquired and the talents they possess to “sharing information for the creation of a better society.”

Dr. Allen Pensick, Provost of St. George’s University, reminded the graduates that “the term ‘commencement’ means the beginning of a journey rather than its end. You leave us equipped with the basic knowledge and skills for you to continue learning. This continued learning is absolutely necessary for all of us to keep pace with the ever-changing world in which we live.”

Chancellor of St. George’s University, Dr. Charles Modica, joined in extending his congratulations to the graduates and expressed pride at their accomplishments. He reminded the audience of the genesis of the University, stating “ …this University has its most important purpose – to educate Grenadians. We do give educational opportunities to people in other countries, and we educate many Grenadians. We are so proud of that.”

The valedictory address was delivered by Ms. Sharmaine Shallow of St. Vincent & the Grenadines who pursued her BSc in Life Sciences with a Marine Biology specialization. In her delivery she declared that “It is our time to leave SGU, but SGU shall not leave us. SGU is not merely a learning center. It is a diverse community that has shaped us and made it easier to enter into the world, small fish in a big pond. Small, but prepared! SGU has not only given us the knowledge for our respective careers but has opened our eyes to different ways of thinking and interacting with people. It truly has allowed us to ‘Think beyond’!”

Mr. Nicholas Cheronis, the graduate class speaker, was selected by his peers from a number of students with a grade point average of 4.0 in the Graduate Studies Program (GSP) and completed a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Environmental and Occupational Health. Like the valedictorian and other speakers, he acknowledge the impact of attending St. George’s University and he too challenged his peers not to be complacent with their achievement, but rather to continue in their pursuit of higher education, achieving rewarding careers and a maintaining the desire to positively impact their immediate surroundings.

The University was also pleased to have in attendance special guests Prime Minister Honourable Tillman Thomas; Minister for Education & Human Resource Development, Senator the Honourable Franka Bernadine and Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senator the Honourable Michael Lett.

Sir George Alleyne has had a remarkable career in academic medicine, administration, and as a global leader in health policy whose vision has served this region so well for many decades. Sir George has received numerous honorary degrees and awards in recognition of his work, including prestigious decorations and national honors from many countries. Of these Sir George is most proud of being awarded in 2001 the Order of the Caribbean Community, the highest honor that can be conferred on a Caribbean national.

Sir George joins a list of internationally recognized Caribbean luminaries whose lives and words have inspired St. George’s University Commencement Classes. Past speakers include the former Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. the Right Hon. Keith Mitchell; the Governor General of St. Lucia, Dame Pearlette Louisy; the Prime Minister of St. Vincent & Grenadines, Dr. The Hon. Ralph Gonsalves; the Hon. Mr. Justice Adrian Saunders of the Caribbean Court of Justice; Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Professor E. Nigel Harris and Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Sir K. Dwight Venner.

For a complete copy of Sir George Alleyne’s speech “The Price of Privilege”