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UMGC, NSA Bahrain Hold Commencement Recognizing College Graduates

12 May 2024

From MC1 Shayla D. Hamilton, NSA Bahrain Public Affairs

In a collaboration between the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) and Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain, 36 college graduates from various universities were presented with earned degrees and certificates during a commencement, May 9.

The commencement ceremony marked a significant milestone for service members and civilians who have dedicated themselves not only to service, but also to pursuing higher education.

The partnership between UMGC and NSA Bahrain underscores a commitment to supporting servicemen and women in their educational pursuits, regardless of their location or circumstances. Through joint efforts, command career counselors, education services officers, and UMGC staff members at NSA Bahrain ensured service members who have completed their college degrees within the past year had the chance to partake in this culminating event.

"What is happening today is immensely important, but not nearly as important as what happens next,” said Capt. Zachariah Aperauch, NSA Bahrain’s commanding officer. “You’re sitting here today because you were hungry for something more, driven to reach that next level of personal and professional growth. Earning your degree might satisfy that hunger for now, but I promise that it will return, and when it does, I want you to push even harder. Stomp that gas pedal down and drive towards the next goal, the next achievement. I’ve already said it, but I can’t stress enough – the more you excel, the more we excel. There is no better win-win scenario than you striving for your own brand of greatness.”

The significance of this event extends beyond the conferral of diplomas. For many service members stationed in the Middle East, the opportunity to walk across the stage represents a reminder of their commitment to personal and professional growth, even in challenging environments.

“Walking across the stage was more than just a simple gesture for me,” said Yeoman 1st Class Miracle Murphy-Page, UMGC graduate. “For me, and a lot of others sitting beside me, this was a testament of resilience, determination, and a commitment to reaching the goals we set for ourselves.”

Hundreds of guests attended the ceremony, including fellow service members, families, and other guests. The atmosphere was charged with anticipation and pride as the graduates stepped into the spotlight and received their recognition.

"Traditionally, the moving of the tassel during the commencement ceremony is called, ‘turning of the tassel,’” said Misha Ross, UMGC program coordinator and master of ceremonies. “It symbolizes the transition from candidate to graduate. It is time to move your tassels from the right side to the left side and if you have a class ring, turn your class ring around to signify your graduation. Graduates, turn your tassels. If you ever forget which side your tassel goes on, remember that you wear it on the left side over your heart to remind you of your alma mater.”

NSA Bahrain’s mission is to support U.S. and coalition maritime operations throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations by providing security for ships, aircraft and tenants on board NSA Bahrain and assigned detachments. NSA Bahrain provides efficient and effective shore services to sustain the fleet, enable the fighter and support the family with honor, courage and commitment.


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