Forty students from the International College of the Cayman Island received degrees at a commencement ceremony at the Westin Casuarina Resort on Feb. 4.
“We are very proud of this talented class which really upped its game during these last two years to achieve academically,” said David Marshall, president of ICCI.”
“We unequivocally vouch for each and every one of them as professionals who are prepared to take their rightful places in Cayman’s globally competitive workforce,” he continued.
Four students earned a master of business administration, the highest degree offered at the college. They are Kimberly Martin, Karen Rhoden-Mills, Melissa Monique Smith and Weston Wade Williams. Three students earned other master’s degrees with concentrations in human resources and education management.
Twenty-two students received bachelor of science degrees and 11 earned associate degrees. The major areas of study in this class were accounting, finance, human and social services, broadcasting management and general studies.
Nine civil servants graduated. They work in a variety of departments including the Ministry of Education, Department of Planning, Ministry of Tourism, Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, Immigration, Needs Assessment Unit, Radio Cayman and the National Roads Authority.
Baroness Floella Benjamin, a member of the U.K. House of Lords, gave the commencement address. She urged graduates to use their education to make a difference, change the world, and make their country proud.
“Success doesn’t come easy. It takes hard work, determination, and dedication to duty,” said Ms. Benjamin, adding, “but in seeking success, remember your responsibilities, not just to yourselves and to your families, but to your society, your community, your environment and to your world. You got to be role models.”
Mr. Marshall said the college is working on the final accountability report about the class which is due later this year to its U.S. accrediting body, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. However, he said that the initial evaluation of the class appears strong.
One student was not employed by graduation and Mr. Marshall said the college’s career services team is working to remedy that. Two students have already transferred to overseas institutions to continue their studies, with six more planning to follow by September.
“The stellar performance of this class is evidence that ICCI’s move to raise academic standards is working. There were some students who did not qualify for graduation this year because they did not meet the new rigor,” said Mr. Marshall.
As heartbreaking as that is, he said, the college is committed to not let anyone walk across the commencement stage unless he or she has demonstrated the competencies in his or her degree area, even if it means smaller and smaller graduating classes.
“Our goal is to only send work-ready graduates to employers,” he said.
Karisha Mallari, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration, said ICCI taught her a lot of things, but the most important lesson she learned was to believe in herself.
“I am confident I have gained the skills at ICCI to go out now and do anything,” she said.
Acting Deputy Governor Jennifer Ahearn and Education Minister Tara Rivers gave congratulatory remarks and awarded the diplomas.
Butterfield, Cayman National, Cayman Islands Society of Professional Accountants and Ernst & Young presented awards to the top academically achieving students.