Today, the University of Alaska Southeast will confer degrees and certifications on more than 500 men and women. The class is UAS’ largest ever in its 40-year history, thanks in part to the university’s offering of a new master’s degree in educational leadership here and a law enforcement endorsement program in Sitka.
These graduates will bolster Juneau and Southeast in two ways. Those that leave here will inspire those they meet Outside with their ability and intellect, raising UAS’ reputation across the country and in the world, and encouraging an even greater range of potential students to apply to receive their educations here. The graduates who remain in Southeast will become leaders here, continuing our communities’ progress with the strong work ethics and mental discipline forged, at least in part, at UAS. They will also be prepared for the highly-skilled, high-paying jobs the area and the state wants — and need — to fill with Alaskans.
As today’s grads walk the aisle to “Pomp and Circumstance,” we are learning that, more and more, the education they received in Juneau, Sitka or Ketchikan is every bit as good — or even better — than what they could have received in Anchorage, Fairbanks or Outside. A recent survey from the McDowell Group revealed UAS graduates are “more likely than University of Alaska Anchorage and Fairbanks graduates to be very satisfied with their overall academic experience,” according to a release from the university. This shows UAS is preparing its students both theoretically and practically for the challenging 21st-century work environment.
We congratulate those clad in cap and gown as they begin not only the next chapters in their lives, but also the annual graduation season here in Juneau. Soon, senior classes at Juneau-Douglas, Thunder Mountain and Yaakoosge Daakahidi high schools will all conclude one part of their lives and begin another, a renewal appropriately placed in spring. Just as it does in the forests that surrounds us, that renewal strengthens our community. We welcome it, and congratulate those that will take part in it.
UAS’ graduation is scheduled for 2 p.m. today at the UAS Rec Center, 12300 Mendenhall Loop Road. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/eU9PpP.