UAF Bristol Bay honors graduates at 29th commencement ceremony

May 4, 2015

McKinley Capital Management's Bob Gillam delivered commencement address to graduates Saturday in Dillingham.

On Saturday afternoon, scholars donned caps, gowns, and hoods for the University of Alaska Fairbanks Bristol Bay Campus 29th commencement ceremony.

Campus Director Deborah McLean welcomed attendees, Dillingham American Heritage Girls provided the color guard, and Aileen Walsh of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church gave the invocation.

Robert Gillam, president and CEO of McKinley Capital Management and a leader in the campaign to pass the Bristol Bay Forever Initiative, gave a commencement speech urging graduates to use their education to protect Bristol Bay against mining interests in the future.

“It’s your responsibility to look after this,” Gillam charged the class of 2015. “There is ever-present danger, and you, the leaders of Bristol Bay, will have to have a strategy, a focus, and provide the leadership.”

Among the honored guests were Brian Rogers, chancellor for the UAF; Evon Peter, vice-chancellor for Rural Community and Native Education at UAF, and Fisheries Research and Consulting CEO Carol Ann Woody.

Colette Meraz, left, received a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development and Family Studies, and Crystal Nixon Luckhurst, right, was awarded a Master of Social Work.

Yup’ik elder Gust Bartman, born in Igushik in 1924, received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Anishia J. Elbie of South Naknek earned her Master of Arts degree in rural development.

Six graduates received their Master of Education degrees from UAF-BBC: Jill Marie Elliott in Counseling; Colynn Isaacson in Cross Cultural Education; Clint Reigh and Andrew Robert Slagle, both of Dillingham, in Secondary Education; and Dana Marie Bartman and Ricky James Lind Jr. in Educational Leadership from the UAA.

Master’s degrees from the University of Alaska Anchorage were conferred to Colleen Rose Johnson for Master of Science in clinical Psychology, and Crystal Nixon-Luckhurst for Master of Social Work.

LeEsia MaLeah O’Sullivan of Manokotak received graduate licensure in post-baccalaureate K-12 special education.

Bachelor of Arts degrees were conferred to Triena Slatter of Anchorage for rural development; Shawna Cee Wilson of Naknek for elementary education; and Colette Meraz of Anchorage in child development and family studies.

Destiny Burnett of Dillingham and Rebecca Claire Wilmarth of Ekwok earned Associate of Arts Degree in general studies.

Associate of Applied Science Degrees were awarded to Danielle Aikens of Seward in applied accounting and applied business, Heather Nichole Renk of Greenleaf, Idaho in applied business; and Natasha Nielsen and Joclyn Reamey of Dillingham for nursing at UAA.

Of the bachelor’s and associate degree earners, Shawna Cee Wilson and Colette Meraz graduated with cum laude honors, and Rebecca Claire Wilmarth and Heather Nichole Renk graduated magna cum laude.

Certificates of community health were presented to Monica Anderson of Chignik and Andrewski Toyukak of Manokotak. Kellen Halford of Dillingham earned a certificate in construction trade technology.

Henry Moore Boggs* of Dillingham received his Associate Degree for Applied Science in computer applications in environmental studies and a certificate in environmental studies.

Boggs was also honored as student of the year along with Jocyln Reamey.

More then 20 students earned occupational endorsements. Heather Savo of Dillingham received her endorsement in allied health: medical billing. Brenton Byayuk of Togiak earned his in welding.

The occupational endorsement in basic carpentry graduates were Marlena Bavilla, Melinda Bavilla, Kayla Brothers, Joshua Davis, Alec Harford, Stephana Kapotak, John Thomas Mincher, and Katelyn Virginia Whitcomb, all of Dillingham; and Aquila Kapotak of Koliganek.

Endorsements in sustainable energy was awarded to Franklin Chythlook* of Aleknagik; Richard Heller, Karlin Swearingen and Nicholas Joseph Toye* of Anchorage; Lawrence T. Ellis* of Delta Junction; Julianne E. Baltar and Michelle Smith of Dillingham; Lyle Axellarris, Pascale Clerc* and Kodiak Cullen of Fairbanks; Jennifer Rasche of Homer; and Tiarna Bartman* of Manokotak.

Breanna Boyiddle and Lydia Wonhola received their child development associate credential.

Nicholas Hainsel of Egegik earned his G.E.D. certification.

Music was provided by the Dillingham High School band, who performed “Pomp and Circumstance”, “America the Beautiful”, and “Late Rain.”  

*Denotes BBC Nunaput Scholars, who are committed to becoming better stewards of Nunaput: our place, our land.