By Tim Leeds
Graduation commencement ceremonies for Montana State University-Northern begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, and the 394 student class includes the largest number of international student's in the institution's history.
There are 12 members of the university's International Club in the ceremony, some from half-way around the world.
The club members graduating are John Aulsebrook from South Africa in metals tech, Keui-Lung Chen from Taiwan in auto tech, Shu Chin Cheng from Taiwan in nursing, Violeta (Viki) Jovanoska from Macedonia in business tech, Evangelia Kotsikouro from Greece in English and chemistry, Levi Marang'a from Kenya in electronics engineering tech, Soufyane Meftah from Morocco in auto tech, Jehad Nasr from Canada in auto tech, Shu-Tsu (Arthur) Roan in auto tech, Yuka Sasaki from Japan in IDST, Krste Serafimoski from Macedonia in Health/PE and Sen Jack Zhang from business tech in business tech.
Sasaki said she came to Havre from Japan because MSU-Northern was the first to respond of the 10 or so institutions she applied at. She said her experience since she arrived here in 1996 has been very good.
Sasaki said she only planned to stay here for one year, but so many people encouraged her to finish her bachelor's degree she decided to stay. She said she's glad she did.
"So many people helped me a lot," she said. "I'm glad I came here; it's a small college, the professors are so nice."
She said Mavis Filler, the International Club advisor, and her English tutor, Ted Gran, were especially helpful in getting her through her academic career here.
Cheng is one of the newer international students at the university. She is receiving her bachelor's in nursing only one year after coming here from Taiwan. She already had her associate's degree from Taiwan and was a professional nurse before coming here.
She said she had a friend who received her nursing degree from MSU-Northern, and after she heard about the program decided to come here to get her bachelor's. She said it has been a good experience.
Cheng said this is a very different learning experience from Taiwan. She said the professors have been very helpful, even though she didn't have a good background in English,
The graduation of international students has affected the entire ceremony, as John F. Aulsebrook, member of the South African Parliament, will give the graduation address. Aulsebrook's son, John, is a member of the graduating class.
There will be an honorary Montana State University System degree bestowed upon the late Michael Peter Malone, former president of the university system. Malone died suddenly and unexpectedly last December following a heart attack.
The 2000 Montana State University-Northern Graduation Ceremonies begins at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Northern Gymnasium.
Dr. Jan Wiberg is the pianist for the processional, with Dr. William Thackeray as the faculty marshal and Tammy Rigby and Daniel LaMotte the student marshals during the academic processional.
Mavis Filler will lead the audience in the national anthem, then Chancellor Mike Rao will welcome the assembly. Lynn Hamilton, member of the board of regents, will address the assembly, then Rao will present the attending Graduating Class of 1950.
Rao will then make his remarks, and the International Club will sing the Timely Trio's "Havre Song." Dr. Roger Barber, vice chancellor for academic affairs, will make a recognition of awards, and Aulsebrook will make his address, "Education- The Global Challenge."
Rao, Barber and Dr. Korinne Tande, the director of education and graduate programs, will confer the degrees upon the graduating class. Judi Bricker, MSU-Northern alumni director, will make alumni remarks, and Wiberg will play the recessional.
A brunch will be held in the university Student Union Building following the ceremony. Tickets are available at the door, costing $10.50 for adults and MSU-Northern students and $6 for senior citizens and 18 years old and younger.