By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Clay M. Whaley, Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO - Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) held its 5th annual Graduation Recognition Ceremony Sept. 16, for active duty personnel who have accomplished their educational goal of receiving a college degree.
A total of 81 NMCSD members were recognized at the graduation ceremony; of the 82 members who received a degree: 49 earned an associate degree, 26 earned a bachelor's degree, six earned a master's degree and one earned a doctoral degree.
"Obtaining a college degree is important in my quest of fulfilling many aspirations," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Alorah Thomas, NMCSD operational forces medical liaison, who earned an associate degree in liberal arts and is a mother of two. "My goal is to become a biomedical scientist and perform medical research," she added.
Five of the 82 graduates who earned their educational degrees are wounded, ill or injured service members receiving medical treatment at NMCSD. "I know that it is very difficult to get a degree in the military," said Sharon Dial, Education Service Specialist for the Navy College at NMCSD. "I know putting education on top of that [being active duty] in our busy world is very difficult, and I think they [active duty] need to be recognized," Dial added.
Friends, family, retirees, and NMCSD staff attended the ceremony to congratulate and show their support of the graduate's accomplishment. Also attending the ceremony in support of the graduates was guest speaker Sandra K. Cook, Chief Administrative Officer at the Office of Administration for the White House, who personally volunteered to take part in the event.
"I would like to express my personal admiration to each of you for the efforts you have put forth to receive today's degrees," said Cook. "Keep striving, keep reaching and keep moving forward," Cook added.
Throughout all of NMCSD's Graduation Recognition Ceremonies, 427 active duty members have earned educational degrees since 2007, and Dial hopes that the number will significantly increase as the program continues.