This past May, I had the pleasure of speaking at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) Europe Commencement and the UMUC Adelphi, Maryland Commencement. As you know, commencement is a special occasion for students, family, and friends. And as the President of the UMUC Alumni Association, one of my tasks was to share greetings from the Alumni Association, congratulate the graduates on their educational milestones and accomplishments, and invite them to join the Alumni Association.
The UMUC Europe Commencement was held on Saturday, May 9th, 2009 at the Village Pavilion at Patrick Henry Village in Heidelberg, Germany. It was my first time in Germany, and I was treated very well. Along with UMUC President Dr. Susan C. Aldridge, we met with the UMUC Europe staff, attended the special Presidential reception and dinner honoring students for their accomplishments, and visited the Heidelberg Castle for the Post-Commencement Dinner the following day. My schedule was packed with meet-and-greets, receptions, and dinners with key UMUC constituents, and I loved every minute of it! And although I only had a few days there, my husband and I made the most of it. Once the UMUC festivities were over, we took a train to Frankfurt for the day to see the sights.
After our day field trip, we had to fly back to the States for the UMUC Adelphi Commencement. Held on Saturday, May 16, 2009 at the Comcast Center at the University of Maryland, College Park, I prepared for both the morning and afternoon commencements. I practiced my speeches with presidential teleprompters similar to the ones that President Obama uses. I now know why he seems to love them so much! They are so easy to use and allow you to look at the audience and read the speech without much disruption. Thank God for that; I caught a ferocious cold upon my return to Maryland (albeit no swine flu) and was struggling with its symptoms all day.
The main reason I became involved with the UMUC Alumni Association is because I loved the flexibility and the unconventional learning environment. It is this flexibility that makes UMUC such a great choice for the military. UMUC is a nontraditional university that is global in nature. “Founded in 1947, UMUC is one of 11 accredited, degree-granting universities within the University System of Maryland. Offering a broad range of cutting-edge classes, UMUC has earned a global reputation for excellence.” To this end, many in the military find that UMUC is convenient and conducive to their lifestyles. UMUC has a large military student base, along with key military and veteran scholarships. In fact, in fiscal year 2007, UMUC’s worldwide enrollment ranked second among 4-year degree granting public universities in the U.S., as well as offered onsite classes in 22 countries to 38,288 students.