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Artist, NMC instructor Barry Wonenberg passes away (December 21, 2016)

NORTHERN Marianas College’s longest serving faculty member, Barry Wonenberg, has passed away.

According to one of his daughters, her father “passed away early [Wednesday] morning in our home on Saipan. It was sudden and there aren’t words to describe our pain. Thank you to all who have reached out and supported my mom Margarita [Deleon Guerrero Wonenberg] as she waits for me and my siblings to get to her. He was the greatest father and friend.”

An award-winning, internationally recognized artist, Barry Wonenberg had been an instructor at NMC for 25 years, teaching art, ceramics, painting, drawing, digital media design and other classes.

For his many accomplishments, he was chosen as NMC’s mace bearer in the college commencement exercises over the past several years. He was also a board member of the Northern Marianas Humanities Council.

“Barry Wonenberg was an extraordinarily talented artist, and one of the most beloved instructors at Northern Marianas College,” NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez said. “He was a great asset to our college, and we will miss him dearly.”

Fernandez said Wonenberg’s contributions to the college and his dedication to student learning will never be forgotten.

The college plans to commemorate his life with a tribute ceremony to be announced at a later date, she said.

“His sculptures and other works of art have been recognized locally and internationally, and his active involvement in the arts and humanities earned him the respect and admiration of the CNMI community,” Fernandez added.

In her email to the campus community, she asked students and employees: “Please keep Barry and the family in your thoughts and prayers.”

According to NMC Director of Institutional Advancement Frankie Eliptico, who chairs the Northern Marianas Humanities Council: “Because of his incredible talent and wealth of knowledge, we always valued Barry’s insight and vision on the humanities board. The humanities has lost a great advocate and we have lost a good friend and colleague.”

Eliptico added, “He was a phenomenal artist whose creative brilliance influenced many students and other painters, sculptors, and designers in the CNMI and elsewhere.”

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