Left to right....Kyle Gordon, Renatta Graham, Gael Gonzales-Peltier, Alix Matthew and Benni Joseph
Left to right....Kyle Gordon, Renatta Graham, Gael Gonzales-Peltier, Alix Matthew and Benni Joseph

Ten Dominican students earned degrees at Midwestern State University's May 2017 Commencement exercises last month. They were part of a group of 30 Caribbean students who also walked the stage.

Ranatta Graham stood out among the graduates, earning summa cum laude honors and a bachelor's of science degree in respiratory therapy.

Benni Joseph earned magna cum laude honors and a bachelor of science in biology and chemistry.

Alix Matthew, Gael Gonzalez-Peltier, Amy Eloi, Edna Constance, Sierra Richards and Rainah Winston all earned bachelor of science degrees specializing in biology with chemistry minors.

Kyle Gordon earned a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. Rochie Royer earned a bachelor of applied arts and sciences.

Both Gordon and Graham were honored for outstanding leadership and contributions to the Caribbean program. However, the Dominican students in general were outstanding ambassadors for the program, according to Dr. Randy Glean, program director.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Jenner Joseph, a Dominican who was the first student enrolled in the university's Caribbean program in 1993, encouraged the students to bring positive changes to their world as they seek to enhance their credentials. He urged them to maintain the social conscience that formed the core value of the program. Dr. Joseph, an SMA alum from Goodwill, graduated from MSU in 1997 before earning his doctorate at Washington University. He is now a medical systems engineer.

Over 200 Dominican students have earned degrees from Midwestern since 1995 and eighty-five students are currently enrolled, making it the largest contingent from any foreign country at the university. Twenty new students from Dominica will arrive at the university to begin studies in August. The Government of Dominica provides support to the largest contingent of student from the region in a working partnership with the university.

Mr. David Vital of Lead Institute, also an MSU alumnus, serves as the local facilitator. Minister of Education, Hon. Petter Saint Jean visited MSU last April and pledged continuing support for the partnership with government.