FDU-Vancouver graduates largest class yet

Student Pinnacle Award-winner Ronaldo Martins graduates from FDU-Vancouver on May 1, 2013. (Photos by Lynda Kuit)

By Kenna Caprio

On May 1, FDU-Vancouver welcomed its newest alumni at Commencement, adding 191 graduates from 25 countries to the community.

“FDU-Vancouver’s Fourth Commencement was the largest in the brief five-year history of the campus. The event was held in the Vancouver Playhouse and relatives, friends, diplomats and members of the city communities attended,” says FDU-Vancouver Campus Provost Cecil Abrahams of the May 1 ceremony.

This year’s class includes Ronaldo Martins, recipient of the Student Pinnacle Award — the highest honor the University bestows upon graduating students — and Deepika Sawant, vice president of the Masters Students Association, part of the Student Government Association.

“Being an extremely diverse university, FDU has provided me with an environment where I could absorb knowledge from all the corners of the world,” says Martins, who received his B.S. in business administration. “It feels amazing to be getting an American degree, which will be respected and recognized all over the world.”

The 30-year-old Brazilian native refers to the personal and business contacts he made, along with the extensive knowledge of his professors, as great benefits of attending FDU-Vancouver.

Martins plans to attend law school in Canada as his wife, Juliana Fiorentino, also a native of Brazil and last year’s Student Pinnacle Award-winner for FDU-Vancouver, pursues her master’s degree. 

“The University's international students bring the world to our classrooms in New Jersey and Vancouver, Canada, benefiting domestic students as they too aspire to learn more about the world and its many cultures, and fulfill their dream of becoming global citizens,” says Christopher Capuano, University provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Cecil Abrahams, FDU-Vancouver campus provost; Anna Akhmerova, recent graduate; and Kenneth Vehrkens, dean of Petrocelli College, celebrate with Deepika Sawant (third from left).

For Sawant, originally of Mumbai, India, graduating with her master’s degree in administrative science with a concentration in global health and human services, opens up “immense opportunities,” she says.

The 26-year-old decided to pursue her advanced degree at FDU-Vancouver because of its good ranking. Still, at first, she couldn’t get the idea of studying in America out of her head. “Initially, I wanted to transfer to one of FDU’s United States campuses, but when I started taking classes at FDU-Vancouver, I just loved the friendly environment,” says Sawant. “The faculty and staff were always accessible and willing to help.”

Her long-term goal is to open her own hospital in India. “The leadership qualities that I have acquired through my work with the student body, coupled with my knowledge from decision making and strategic planning courses, will definitely help me in achieving my goals and objectives, and most importantly, my long-term vision of success,” she says.

For now, Sawant’s happy to work full time in Canada and apply for permanent residency there.

“FDU students in Vancouver have a strong commitment to global learning and take enormous pride in their university,” says Jason Scorza, vice provost for international education. “Any university would be proud to be represented by the Vancouver graduates of 2013.” 

Fairleigh Dickinson, New Jersey's largest private university, features a highly international student population; campuses in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and Wroxton, England; partnerships with internationally renowned institutions; and special status within the United Nations.

Feature Story from the FDU Newsroom

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