It was a sight to remember. After facing uncertainty throughout their studies from the COVID-19 pandemic, the St. George’s University Schools of Arts and Sciences, and Graduate Studies Class of 2022 stood with pride and gratitude as they received their degrees on Saturday, May 14.
Held in-person for the first time since the pandemic began in 2020—and for the first time outside the True Blue campus—the event featured 1,400 attendees at the Grenada National Cricket Stadium, while more than 10,000 viewers tuned in online to watch the ceremony live.
“This is a significant ceremony because it is a post-pandemic ceremony,” said Dr. Charles R. Modica, chancellor and co-founder of SGU, and this year’s keynote speaker. “There were many hardships along the way, but you managed to find a way to succeed. I have the greatest admiration and respect for you as the first post-pandemic in-person graduating class.”
Among the 200 graduates from 40 countries were husband and wife duo, Clevon Noel, BSc ’11, MBA ’22, and Sallisha Noel, BSc ’22. Mrs. Noel received her undergraduate degree in business management while her husband, this year’s class speaker gave a rousing speech on behalf of his fellow graduands in the School of Graduate Studies. Proudly cheering them on in the stands were their two children and other members of their family.
“I feel ecstatic today not just as the wife of the class speaker but for also having earned my place upon that stage,” shared Mrs. Noel. “I’m elated that we get to share this moment together and with [our peers]. In the future, I look forward to pursuing my master’s in operations and logistics while also working with my husband in his company, Metarelic.”
Mr. Noel was selected as class speaker for his scholarly achievements and community participation. He has established himself as a respected digital expert and strategist in Grenada, and using his considerable talents as a techno entrepreneur, he has founded a number of award-winning digital companies, which today serve clients such as The World Bank.
“One of the greatest endowments of being SGU’s Class of 2022 is knowing how to discover and rediscover ourselves in the face of adversity,” stated Mr. Noel. “I commit this class to what I call the ‘how’ principle. How can my actions make a better world for my friends, family, community, country and beyond? If we keep these questions in mind, we will be impactful wherever we go.”
Joining Mr. Noel as a commencement speaker was valedictorian for the School of Arts and Sciences, Jesse R. Becker. Ms. Becker completed her bachelor’s in medical sciences with a perfect 4.0 GPA and is currently a Term 2 student in the School of Medicine.
“Our shared experience is truly unprecedented,” said Ms. Becker. “Not many graduates from SGU can say they started classes in person, then studied from home, and returned to graduate in person. The amount of resilience I see in my peers before me is truly humbling and I’m glad to be among such incredible students. I want to remind all graduates that while one chapter closes, [another] one opens and is waiting for you. Your choices will continue to take you to great places, and you truly can achieve anything you dream of.”
Degrees were conferred on the classes of August and December 2021, and January and May 2022 in the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Graduate Studies, and Medicine. In addition, SGU hosts the Gamma Kappa chapter of the Delta Omega Honors Society and inducted the top 10 percent of this year’s MPH graduates into the chapter for demonstrating excellence in education and scholarship in research and service.
– Ray-Donna Peters