Seven UMUC Graduates March in Bagram, Afghanistan

A total of 35 students celebrated academic accomplishments and received diplomas from a variety of educational institutions at the second annual local recognition ceremony in Bagram

June 10, 2011

ADELPHI, MD (June 10, 2011)—In scorching desert heat, 35 soldiers, airmen, and contract civilians walked across a dusty stage to receive their diplomas in Bagram, Afghanistan, over the Memorial Day weekend. The ceremony celebrated graduates from University of Maryland University College (UMUC), Central Texas College, the Community College of the Air Force, and other U.S. educational institutions. This is the second annual recognition ceremony to be held in Bagram.

Dr. Allan Berg, vice president and director of UMUC Europe, gave the keynote address, emphasizing the importance of preparing for future careers, exercising the mind, planning ahead, and pursuing lifelong learning. UMUC graduate Monica Ray, the student speaker, expressed pride in her fellow 2011 graduates for reaching their academic goals while working in a challenging environment. UMUC adjunct faculty member, Maj. Raymond Edwards, served as the faculty speaker.

Lisa Henkel, director of downrange operations for UMUC Europe, wrote in describing the event, "M-4s were slung across the graduate's robes as sweat trickled out from beneath their mortar boards. The ceremony was well attended and each graduate was cheered on by members of [his or her] unit. There's no place I would have rather been on Memorial Day weekend than in Afghanistan celebrating these inspiring graduates."

The event was a community effort between the education center and the local colleges and universities serving military students downrange. The recognition ceremony and reception were held in the MWR clamshell in Bagram, and music was provided by the Pegasus Brass Quintet, 1st Cavalry Division Band. AAFES and USO provided gifts, and the base provided reception refreshments for the graduates.

For more than 60 years, UMUC has provided educational services to the United States military, both at home and abroad. Founded in 1947, UMUC—through contracts with the Department of Defense—has provided education to soldiers in Europe since 1949. Today, the university operates across the United States, Europe and Asia, offering educational services and instruction online and on-site to servicemembers at dozens of locations around the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan.