Ramstein ceremony marks end of juggling act for UMUC graduates
By WILL MORRIS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 30, 2018
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — One graduate, a soldier who has been in the service 20 years, took eight years to get his bachelor’s degree; another graduate, a veteran of nine years and mother of four children, took 12.
On Saturday afternoon at the Ramstein Airbase Officer’s Club, both graduates, MSgt. Cameron Regur and Julie Weckerlein, joined 275 others with similar stories of dedication in a ceremony of the University of Maryland University College Europe.
The freshly minted graduates received their associate, bachelor’s or master’s degrees at the 66th annual commencement ceremony. The Ramstein graduates were among a larger group of more than 1,300 graduates from Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and part of an even larger group of more than 13,200 graduates from UMUC worldwide. Almost all were servicemembers, dependents, veterans or government workers.
Many pursued their studies while raising families or being deployed downrange. Almost half of the 2018 graduates — 46 percent — were active duty.
Regur, 40, a military police officer, started pursuing his degree almost eight years ago in a quest that spanned four duty stations and two deployments downrange. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in gerontology with honors.
He said finally getting his degree was difficult at times. “I’m happy to be done with school for a while.”
Weckerlein, 37, an Air Force veteran of nine years and mother of four, got a bachelor’s degree in communications. Starting at UMUC in 2006, she moved to Germany as a government worker and continued her studies, at one time showing up for her first week of class nine months pregnant. She said she had to constantly juggle work, school and family.
“There were really long days and always tough choices to make,” she said.