Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019
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UB honors outstanding achievement in three-way tie for top award

A father of two and a University of The Bahamas (UB) Mingoes student athlete tied with a psychology major to receive the award for the highest cumulative grade point average (GPA) in the 2019 Commencement Class of the University of The Bahamas (UB).

UB honored 62 outstanding leaders and exceptional achievers at the spring 2019 awards ceremony on Monday, May 20 at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium.

Davonia Grant, B.A., psychology; Ducheley Richard, B.Sc., biology with chemistry; and Jared Symonette, B.B.A., accounting, received the prestigious Governor General’s Award for outstanding academic performance, scholarship and exceptional leadership, bestowed for the highest cumulative GPA over 3.70.

University President Dr. Rodney D. Smith lauded the awardees for their focus on service and academic excellence.

“Together, you represent the highest achieving graduates of the Class of 2019. Your dedication to your studies, the loyal service you gave to your alma mater and the community, and of course your overall academic excellence and strength of character, have earned you a place here today, to be honored among your peers and in the presence of your parents, family members and friends,” said Smith.

Symonette also received two additional awards: the Ernst & Young Award for accounting and the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants Award for accounting. A father of two, he admitted to enduring many trials, but said he was determined to succeed to set the best example for his children. Always good with numbers, he said the field of accounting was the right fit for him.

“There were challenges but through perseverance I was able to overcome,” said Symonette, who was a full-time student and also worked to provide for his family. “My kids are a big motivator for me so I could always provide for them and be a beacon. I give all honor and glory to God. I could not have done this without the help of my employer, Ms. Cheryl Carey and the Office of Financial and many others who helped me along the way.”

He aspires to earn the certified public accountant designation, join a public accounting firm and eventually work in government.

“I want to give back to my country,” he said.

North Eleuthera native Mitthayo Barry, B.Ed. primary certification: special education, wants to pay it forward by becoming a teacher and a role model for young men needing encouragement.

“I know what love and care can actually do for a person so I decided that I want to catch students at the foundational stage so that I can mold them into what I believe a perfect gentleman should be coming in to junior high school,” he said. “I had teachers that cared for me all the way up to high school so I want to do the same.”

Among the other awards presented was the Alumni Association Leadership Award given to Clevanche Lightbourne, B.Ed., secondary certification: English language and literature; and the Arlene Albury Scholar-Athlete Award presented to Ducheley Richard, B.Sc., biology with chemistry.

UB faculty members Krista Walkes, assistant professor, English studies, and Jacklyn Chisholm-Lightbourn, assistant professor, biology, received the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award.

UB’s Awards Ceremony was the first commencement event for the season. The Spring 2019 Baccalaureate Service was held on Monday at Bahamas Harvest Church while the Teachers Commissioning was held on Tuesday, May 21 at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs Gymnasium. The Nurses and Allied Health Professions Pinning ceremony was held on Wednesday, May 22 and the New Providence Commencement Ceremony took place on Thursday, May 23 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. Commencement activities in Grand Bahama for the UB-North Campus began on Thursday, May 23 and will culminate on Tuesday, May 28 with the Commencement ceremony at the Grand Lucayan Ballroom.

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