2019, Northern Virginia Community College
Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) held its 53rd Commencement ceremony for graduates and awarded 3,512 degrees on Friday, May 17 at Jiffy Lube Live located at 7800 Cellar Door Dr., Bristow, Va. This year, the college honored outstanding students who have broken barriers and overcome obstacles in their pursuits of higher education – truly celebrating the College’s theme of, “Believe, Aspire and Achieve.” These graduates come from 97 different countries, 64% are from a diverse or ethnic minority background, more than half are females and 22.6% are first generation in college students. NOVA’s oldest graduate is 71 years old. The guest speaker this year was NOVA’s very own alum, Guylaine Saint Juste – or as many fondly refer to her as, Guy. After completing her associate degree at NOVA, she went on to pursue a Bachelor of Arts from George Mason University and a graduate degree in retail banking management at the University of Virginia. As the current Executive Director of the nonprofit Year Up National Capital Region, Guy serves the Washington Capital region by closing the Opportunity Divide for hundreds of talented young adults in the area, connecting them to meaningful careers in business and technology. The organization provides participants with the skills, experience and support they need to reach their full potential in professional careers and in higher education. Guy leads all aspects of programming, corporate engagement, philanthropy, college partnership, board management and development at Year Up. She has grown the organization from serving 250 in 2015 to being on target to serve 450 young adults by 2019. Guy gave up a career in banking to be a part of Year Up’s philanthropic mission. She has held various high level leadership positions in banking, including serving as the Business Banking Virginia Market Executive at Capital One from 2011 to 2015. She currently serves as an appointed commissioner to the Arlington Economic Development Authority and Co-Chair of the Workforce Solutions Committee for the Board of Trade.