Thirteen students from the Virgin Islands graduated from the University of the West Indies Open Campus at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College on Jan. 13. (Photo: PROVIDED)

Thirteen students from the Virgin Islands graduated from the University of the West Indies last week through its Open Campus programme in the territory.

Eight received a bachelor’s degree, one received a master’s degree, and five received a bachelor of laws.

The UWI has nearly 50 locations across the Caribbean providing virtual and physical access to accredited programmes, courses, and other support services to students.

All told, the graduating Class of 2020 boasted some 8,500 students, and a virtual ceremony was held on Jan. 13 via Facebook.

During a small in-person ceremony earlier that day, the VI graduates gathered at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College donned in graduation caps and gowns.

UWI British Overseas Territories Manager Dr. Phyllis Fleming-Banks called in to the ceremony and applauded the VI for hosting a ceremony in person.

“We want to applaud your tenacity,” she said. “The Class of 2020 is very special because for the first time in the history of UWI, all graduating ceremonies will be conducted online.”

She congratulated the students for their hard work and commitment over the years in order to earn their degrees.

“We could’ve had this auditorium filled, but let me assure you that you in the VI are one of the few sets that are able to celebrate in this manner,” she added.

Jnae Hopkins, who earned her bachelor of laws from the Mona Campus in Jamaica, delivered a speech during the ceremony as well.

She defined herself as a rebel and said throughout her education, she changed her mind from pursuing accounting to studying financial services laws.

The graduates were able to walk and receive their diplomas, afterwards making a graduate pledge to “commit themselves to uphold [their] ideals and goals of [their] alma mater.”