University of Lynchburg in St. Lucia celebrated the culmination of two years of hard work, extraordinary effort, and determination as 35 students were honored at Commencement exercises on June 12, 2016. In addition to the graduates, their families, and representatives of the College, St. Lucia’s newly elected Prime Minister Allen Chastanet attended and chose LC’s Commencement as his first public speaking event.
“There was a tremendous sense of celebration in the air,” said retired Dean of Graduate Studies Edward A. Polloway, who was a guiding light in establishing the St. Lucia program. “It was exciting and emotional with wonderful interaction among students, parents, friends, and relatives.”
President Kenneth R. Garren gave the keynote address and was introduced by Dean and Academic Vice President Sally Selden who, along with Dr. Polloway, assisted in conferring the degrees.
Seventeen students received their Bachelor of Science in Special Education, having completed 56 to 70 credits in two years while also working full time. Eighteen students received the master of education degree — nine in special education and nine in educational leadership. Most were full-time teachers. “They truly were a group with remarkable ability as well as tremendous commitment to their educational and professional development,” commented Dr. Polloway.
Appreciation for LC faculty was a major theme of the Commencement program and was expressed by all four of the student speakers. “The regard that these students have had for their faculty is remarkable,” Dr. Polloway said.
The positive student-teacher relationship was further emphasized with the presentation of a special award to Dr. Paula Lichiello ’07 MEd, ’14 EdD, who taught several classes in St. Lucia. Shaped liked the island, the award was etched with the names of all nine educational leadership cohort members and the message, “Thank you for a wonderful learning experience.”
“Participating in this St. Lucia cohort has been the most rewarding teaching experience in my educational career,” Dr. Lichiello said. “The students were eager to learn and always exceeded my expectations. They truly embraced the leadership skills and concepts conveyed in the program while also developing a collegial relationship with me and each other as we became a community of learners.”
J. Wendy Bailey-Joseph ’07, ’08 MEd, ’14 EdD, director of the St. Lucia campus, said graduation was truly the commencement of a new phase in the life of the graduates. “University of Lynchburg is proud to send these graduates out into society equipped with a new level of skills and informed empowerment to serve the educational and social needs of the island of St. Lucia.”
University of Lynchburg has had a partnership with St. Lucia since 2003. An on-site program offering LC classes on the island began in the summer of 2014. Currently, there are two other active cohort programs in counselor education and educational leadership.
View more photos from the St. Lucia Commencement in this Flickr photo album.