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Danny and Natoya Black, their son, Danny Jr., and Natoya's mother, Cheryl McCrae, celebrate following the UMUC commencement ceremony Saturday at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea.
Danny and Natoya Black, their son, Danny Jr., and Natoya's mother, Cheryl McCrae, celebrate following the UMUC commencement ceremony Saturday at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea. (T.D. Flack / S&S)
Danny and Natoya Black, their son, Danny Jr., and Natoya's mother, Cheryl McCrae, celebrate following the UMUC commencement ceremony Saturday at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea.
Danny and Natoya Black, their son, Danny Jr., and Natoya's mother, Cheryl McCrae, celebrate following the UMUC commencement ceremony Saturday at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea. (T.D. Flack / S&S)
Families and friends join the graduates and faculty members following the UMUC commencement ceremony Saturday at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea.
Families and friends join the graduates and faculty members following the UMUC commencement ceremony Saturday at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea. (T.D. Flack / S&S)

Click here for a list of graduates.

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Danny and Natoya Black made it with “a lot of prayer” and some help from Mom.

Martin Weinheimer spent countless hours on a bus, trooping between camps.

Choe Min-suk put her electronic English-Korean translator to good use.

They were among the University of Maryland University College graduates to receive degrees at Saturday’s Class of 2008 commencement — and officials say they’re representative of the school’s worldwide population.

Danny Black, a soldier with the 18th Medical Command, and Natoya, who recently got out of the Army, attended the ceremony with their 4-month-old son, Danny Jr., and Natoya’s mother, Cheryl McCrae.

“It felt awesome,” Danny said of graduating with a bachelor’s degree.

Natoya finished one term on Dec. 22, had her baby on Dec. 26, and was back in the classroom less than a month later.

They were able to push through their classes and the challenges of being new parents, thanks in part to the fact that McCrae has stayed with them since the birth.

“I’ve been pushing them,” McCrae joked.

Weinheimer, stationed with the 2nd Infantry Division along the demilitarized zone, has worked on his degree in South Korea for four years. About half of his classes were at Yongsan Garrison, meaning he spent a lot of time on the roads.

For Choe — a Korean national and base employee — the UMUC degree is her second; she earned her first at a Korean university.

A class favorite known to bring local treats, Choe beamed after the ceremony.

“I’m so happy,” she said.

The university teaches on military bases worldwide.

This year’s youngest graduate was 20; the oldest was 70. The average age of the students was 34 and it took — on average — 13 years for the students to earn their degrees.

On hand at Yongsan’s ceremony were William C. Beck II, interim vice president and director; Susan C. Aldridge, president; U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Rusch; and Maj. Gen. John W. Morgan III, 2nd Infantry Division commanding general.

Aldridge lauded the graduates for balancing the challenges of family and work, for raising children while balancing tight budgets.

“You have given new meaning to the word sacrifice,” she said, telling them they were “as talented as you are tenacious,” and as “diverse as your are diligent.”

During his commencement address, Morgan thanked the friends and families who helped the graduates.

“This day did not happen alone,” he told the audience.

Morgan told them to “continue to challenge yourself.”

That’s exactly what graduate Michael Dracos plans to do. His goal is to jump right into a master’s degree program and look at law school.

“I’m blessed,” he said about earning his first degree.

Degrees earned at UMUC KoreaThe following people earned degrees with the University of Maryland University College Korea district in the 2007-2008 school year.

Associate of ArtsTracy AgyemanAlexander Bebout IIIJames BerryNatoya BlackMichael BoettcherMax BoultonJames BranninDustin BrownFontez BrownBarbara BroylesNakashia BurroughBrenna BuseRobert CalvoAaron CaudleYonghye ChoiSuyeon ChungJoseph CrawfordNatasha CrumblesRaynold DesnoyersBilly EllenburgWayne FlowersMarc GroteEric GuerreroAddonis HawkinsJoseph HenryRalph HernandezJulie HollandHyunsook HoltAnthony JohnsonGeorge JohnsonMaurice JohnsonDella KiddMin KimNicholas KonovodoffCarmen LopezKi MaLesley MaennerEunkyoung MannMiguel MarquezSharyn McClatchieSergio MeijaRobert MillicanTri NguyenJimmy NorrisReiko OtaSuk Hyon PlumleyTara PoppJon PowellTimothy PraterSean RayDiane RillonVincent RobinsonJacqueline RossWayne RuddockAmanda SchmiederHejin ScottWoody ScottVanessa SeiglerSean SindlerRosalinda SoskaHarry SporeCedric StokesRachelle StonekingChristine SubbiondoMichael TanDavid TaylorBrittany TitlowPaul ViallCassie WilliamsMichele YorkYunkyong Yu

Bachelor of Arts/ScienceJonathan AgeeJon AmmonFranck AtchimonAmbrosene AttwoodJeffrey BernsteinDanny BlackBeverly BowenChip BremerJohnny BrooksDustin BrownTerry BrownMathew BumbaloughAmanda BunceTeresa BurkeRay BurkhartJoseph BurtonMin Suk ChoeTimothy ChoiYonghye ChoiHo ChungJae ChungDave ConradBrian CookElliott CrawfordStephen CriswellEric CunninghamFranklin DerbyIbrahima DialloMichael DracosRobert ElliottMonica GeorgeDeborah GibsonTimonthy GilchristNadia GilmoreLuther HigdonJulie HollandMark HornbergerBarry JacksonCarol JinAlisha JohnsonVernon JohnsonDouglas JonesHoon JooPamela KelleyChongho KimEunha KimHana KimJae Young KimJu-Hee KimMi Sun KimStella KimRichard KnappHyun Kyung KoMarriannick KoffiThomas LawrenceDavid LeeHae LeeJooil LeeKenneth LimtiacoDavid LocketLance McLaughlinEdward MinnerlyTyrome MyattMatthew OrmitaMichael PageAnne ParkJong ParkCharles PeltonTara PoppJon PowellGretchen RiceFebulette RichmondJun RimMichael RosePamela RoseStephen SackettChristopher SchrebeJessica ShanahanDavid SharpDongkwan ShinSean SindlerHarry SporeAnthony SzkownyDavid TaylorTrent TillmanBethy VallejoMartin WeinheimerChad WilhelmiAndrea WilliamsCalvin WilliamsHyunjeong YoonRandall Young

—UMUC-Asia

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