Dr. Muriel Howard, president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), told graduates that they don't have to start a revolution to make a difference during today's 43rd commencement ceremony at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
"Think of the words of Anne Frank who wrote, 'Isn’t it wonderful that we don’t need to wait a single moment to help improve the world!' Dr. Howard said. "That is so true. In an instant, you can turn to the person next to you and say something kind. In an instant, you can offer help. In an instant you can say, 'No,' to tyranny or dishonesty or corruption."
Dr. Howard received a Chancellor's Medal for her outstanding contributions and commitment to public higher education, educational leadership, community, and diversity. She is the first African American to lead one of the six presidentially based higher education associations in Washington, D.C. She is also AASCU’s first female president.
She was joined by James A. Calhoun, head coach of the University of Connecticut’s NCAA Championship winning basketball team, who received a Chancellor’s Medal, and honorary degree recipients Larry Lucchino, president and CEO of the Red Sox; Charles Rose, senior vice president and dean of City Year; and Frances West, director of the IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center. As a surprise for his final commencement as president, outgoing UMass President Jack Wilson also was awarded a Chancellor's Medal. He will serve as interim president of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.
More than 3,000 graduates and their families filled the Campus Center Circle Lawn for the commencement ceremony. An estimated 700 people watched commencement via a live stream from the www.umb.edu website.
UMass Boston graduated a record-breaking 3,637students this year, the largest graduating class in school history. Fifty-nine percent of these students are the first in their families to graduate.
“Earlier this spring, Governor Deval Patrick spoke on campus at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. In his address, he encouraged us to all reclaim our optimism,” Chancellor J. Keith Motley told the crowd. “Now, being optimistic doesn’t mean that we ignore our problems. It means that we live not in denial… but in certainty—that we have the power to change for the better, and bring the world with us.”
College of Nursing and Health Sciences student Alia MacPherson, a Marblehead native, received the 2011 JFK Award – the university’s highest honor for graduates.
Three UMass Boston professors were also honored at the ceremony. Professor of Psychology Alice Carter received the Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Scholarship, Professor of English Vivian Zamel received the Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Teaching, and Professor of Biology Manickam Sugumaran received the Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Service.
The following medals and degrees were awarded:
About the University of Massachusetts Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s eight colleges and graduate schools serve more than 15,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit www.umb.edu.