UNCW, Camp Lejeune Honor Onslow Graduates

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

A month before her graduation from UNCW, Staff Sgt. Shona Anne Schneider was in the delivery room completing a final exam while waiting to deliver her third child.

Juggling family, work and school was something she mastered while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in criminology. Her hard work paid off on June 2 when she graduated with honors at the 22nd annual Commanding General’s Graduation Ceremony at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. 

Schneider, who enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2007, was selected as the “Graduate Spotlight” for the UNCW Onslow Extension Site. She was honored for her perseverance and dedication.

“It’s humbling to receive this recognition,” said Schneider, a radio chief in the U.S. Marine Corps. “The Onslow staff was a tremendous support system. I’m thankful for the opportunity the military provided me to finish my degree while I was on active duty. I’m ready to start my master’s program.”

Schneider plans to apply to the conflict management and resolution master’s program at UNCW. 

Camp Lejeune holds a graduation ceremony each year to recognize students who have completed degree requirements from the colleges and universities affiliated with Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River.

Ronald Costello, associate vice chancellor for distance education, conferred the degrees on behalf of UNCW. A dozen of the 124 UNCW Onslow Extension graduates attended the ceremony.

“I would like to say how proud we are of all of you,” Ann Marie Beall, director of the Onslow Extension Site, told the graduates. “We were proud to call you UNCW students and to assist you in your journey. We are even prouder to call you UNCW graduates, and we know you will continue to do great things.”

In the future, the university will do even more to enhance outreach services to the military and others who attend classes at the Onslow Extension Site, said UNCW Provost Marilyn Sheerer, who attended the luncheon and ceremony.

“Our plans are to develop more online programs, particularly for the military. That is one way we can ensure that service members and their families have access to a quality education, which is a part of the university’s Strategic Plan,” she said.

During his remarks, Col. Michael Scalise, commander of Marine Corps Installations East-Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, said the graduation ceremony exemplifies the dedication of service members, their families and civilian community members.

“The pursuit of a degree will better prepare our marines and sailors as they make their transition into civilian life,” he said. “A vast majority of our graduates are nontraditional students. They are marines and sailors who continued their educational goals even while deployed. They are spouses who have faced the challenge of relocation every few years and had to start anew. They are retirees, after years of service, who showed us that it is never too late to start.”

-- Venita Jenkins