UMUC Asia Commencement 2015

UMUC Asia Commencement 2015

by Christine Arnett

Yokota AB, Japan – University of Maryland University College (UMUC) Asia is pleased to announce its 2015 Commencement: 11 April in Tokyo, 18 April in Okinawa, 25 April in Seoul, and May 16 in Guam. Around 80 graduates will march in the Tokyo ceremony and receive their associate and/or bachelor’s degrees. The ceremony will begin at 1600 and will be held at The New Sanno Hotel in Minato-ku, Tokyo. This year’s guest speaker will be Major General James C. Boozer, Sr.

Major General James C. Boozer, Sr. is a native of Charleston, South Carolina, entered the Army in 1980. He is currently assigned as the Commanding General of U.S. Army Japan and I Corps (Forward). His previous assignment was as the Deputy Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe and previous to that he served as the Operations Director, Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management.

UMUC Asia is also proud to share a few of our graduate success stories. Mrs. Ruby Bazor has shared a very heartwarming and sincere story, with a unique and funny approach of her defeating life hurdles in order to achieve her degree. Her story is as follows:

“My college success is the result of three important contributions: (1) family members who lied to me while I was growing up (I’ll explain that in a moment, it’s not as bad as it sounds), (2) the military, and (3) my husband and children. First of all, my family members probably weren't “lying” to me when I was growing up. They may have actually believed that I could be a doctor, or a lawyer…or the first woman President of the United States! Right?! But they definitely didn't have any advice or plans about how I was going to achieve these prestigious goals.

They’d just say the cliché “you can be anything” line and left the rest up to me to figure out. But, their high expectations, even though extremely unrealistic, were probably the reason that I had the drive to get out of poverty and try to make a better life for myself. But, being the first person to attend college in my family, it was hard to let go of my persona as just a poor mountain girl from nowhere. But that’s where the military stepped in. The military was the foundation that I needed to get my life started. I signed up for active duty when I was 17 to escape poverty. My family was shocked the day I announced that I was joining the Air Force. I

hadn't had any plans for my future so as soon as I learned of a way out, I took it! In fact, I remember calling my recruiter and telling him I was homeless; he had me on a plane a few days after I graduated high school. In my eyes, you couldn't beat free housing, free food, a job, a paycheck, and the promise of an education and a retirement. But there was a hidden benefit for me that I hadn't expected. The military changed me from a poor mountain girl into a person who had the chance of a brighter future. I was able to complete an Associate degree and today's Bachelor degree thanks to the GI bill. I am proud to be one of the veterans to utilize my education benefits to the full extent possible. But, I couldn't have done any of it without my husband and three beautiful daughters.

I may have gotten myself out of poverty, but I owe everything that is wonderful about my life to my husband and children. My girls make me want to be a good example. They give me another reason to make something of myself; because it’s not just for me, it’s for them too. I’m thankful that my girls can watch me graduate because they can see the tangibles of what I've been working toward. They have always been so understanding when mommy is unavailable to them because of college, and now they can see that it was for a good cause.

Most importantly though, the true reason for my success is the loving support of Technical Sergeant Thomas Bazor, my husband of almost ten years. I honestly don’t know if I would have gone to college at all if it weren't for my husband. My childhood family grew the desire, the Air Force grew the skills, but it is my husband who feeds my will. He inspires me to believe in myself, something that is more powerful than I could have ever imagined. My husband is my hero! One of things that make graduation so special is knowing how proud of me he is. My degree is dedicated to every person who has ever touched my life in a positive way, big or small. Our life paths aren't just straight lines that we walk alone, they are a part of a weave that interlaces with the paths of every person we cross along the way. Everything you do affects someone else’s life, make it for the betterment of theirs as well as your own. I may walk my path, but it is formed by many.”

At the Tokyo ceremony, roughly 20 associate degrees and 60 bachelor’s degrees in a variety of disciplines will be awarded. The graduates are active-duty service members from the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as family members and DoD civilians stationed in the Pacific.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact me by email, and by phone, 225-7149 ext. 389

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