Adrian Sanchez Naranjo(right) from Venezuela is graduating with his bachelor's degree in international business from Upper Iowa University. He is one of six students selected to speak at the 2013 Commencement ceremonies May 11.
FAYETTE, Iowa (May 14, 2013) – Adrian Sanchez Naranjo excused himself from the audience for a few moments during the Upper Iowa Commencement so that he could speak a few words in Spanish to his family who had traveled all the way from Venezuela to see him graduate. Sanchez was one of six UIU students selected to speak during the three 2013 Commencement exercises on the Fayette campus on May 11.
Calling family one of the most valuable things in life, Sanchez said, "They are always there for you, no matter the circumstance. When I decided to study abroad that was one of the things I had to give up. I would not be able to see them for most of the year. Every time I would go back home, I would have new members in the family. I would see my younger brother now turned into a man. I would see my parents getting older. Even in the distance, they have always been there for me. All of their lessons and teaching remain with me. I feel that all of this time has made me realize how important they are in my life. Sometimes distance, instead of creating separation, it connects people."
Sanchez laughed about some of his experience with new things in Fayette, such as snow, especially in May, and urged his fellow students to learn to adapt easily to a more connected, and more globalized world and to learn to rely on themselves.
"Being thousands of miles away from home has convinced me that no matter where I am, I am capable of succeeding," Sanchez said. "I have learned that it is important to be your own best friend; since in the end, you have to be the one person you rely on the most."
Sanchez, who is from La Victoria, Aragua, Venezuela, will complete his degree in international business and marketing following an internship with an international firm, based in Houston, Texas, this summer.
Upper Iowa University has 19 U.S. off-campus education centers, a traditional residential campus in Fayette, international centers in Hong Kong and Malaysia, as well as an extensive online program and an independent study program. About 2,000 students who completed their associate, bachelor or master degrees through these UIU offerings graduated in the UIU ceremonies. Of those, 700 graduated from the Fayette location, more than 1,000 completed their degree at a U.S. center, 500 graduated through online or independent study programs, and 250 were from the international centers. UIU is one of the most diverse universities in Iowa. In all, the graduates represented 36 states and 14 nations.
About Upper Iowa University
Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to some 6,200 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and independent study. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.
Monica Bayer Heaton
Associate Vice President for Communication and Marketing