Former UN Under-Secretary-General Speaks at UMass Boston’s 44th Commencement
June 01, 2012
Office of Communications
University Graduates Largest Class in School History – 3,810 Students
Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, a former United Nations (UN) under-secretary-general and president of the UN Security Council, told graduates to embrace the diversity that surrounds them at the University of Massachusetts Boston’s 44th commencement ceremonies on Friday, June 1.
“The diversity and globalism of UMass Boston is phenomenal,” Ambassador Chowdhury said. “You should be proud that your alma mater values and provides a learning environment that not just respects differences, but excites curiosity and embodies civility.”
More than 3,800 graduates and their families filled the Campus Center Circle Lawn for commencement— making this the largest graduating class in school history. The students represented 101 countries, and many are first-generation college graduates.
Ambassador Chowdhury served as principal speaker and received a Chancellor’s Medal for Global Leadership for Peace. He spoke to students about their responsibility to lead.
“Aspire for something bigger than yourselves,” he said. “Apply your mind and talents to benefit people beyond yourselves.”
He was joined by honorary degree recipients Jackie Jenkins-Scott, president of Wheelock College; Pastor James Wuye and Imam Muhammad Ashafa, co-founders of the Interfaith Mediation Centre in Nigeria; and philanthropist and advocate for the blind Carla Lynton, who also accepted a degree on behalf of her husband Ernest Lynton, who was honored posthumously for his service to higher education in Massachusetts.
Chancellor J. Keith Motley awarded the 2012 John F. Kennedy Award to Albert Chen, a social psychology major in the College of Liberal Arts. The JFK Award is the university's highest honor for an undergraduate student. Chen, a former student government vice president and founder of UMass Boston’s chapter of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, has made it his mission to engage and serve the university community, the city, and the world.
“My hope is that every one of us here would embody the values that inspire others, and strive to become people of character – character that can change the world,” Chen said.
Four UMass Boston professors were honored at the ceremony. Department Chairman of American Studies Rachel Rubin and Professor of English John Tobin received the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Scholarship. Graduate Program Director and Professor of Sociology Stephanie Hartwell received the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, and Professor of Psychology Joan Liem received the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Service. For more information about UMass Boston's 44th commencement ceremonies, visit www.umb.edu/commencement.
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 nearly 16,000 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.
Posted by Sereynita Altarejos | Monday, April 30 2012 at 3:53 pm
I am happy to know that Ambassador A. Chowdhury will be this year’s keynote speaker for UMass Boston’s 44th commencement ceremonies. I have had the opportunity to listen to him speak in last year’s event here at the university on “Women Essential for Sustainable Peace” and I enjoyed his speech tremendously as he shared very valuable knowledge and experiences. I am sure that our graduates will benefit from whatever it is that he will impart during his speech and inspire them to a future of service towards others.
Posted by Amelie Rorty | Wednesday, May 9 2012 at 12:47 pm
Ernest Lynton was also the first dean of Livingston College, Rutgers University. A pioneer advocate for interdisciplinary education, he launched programs on the social responsibility of scientific research. Under his aegis, Livingston College also initiated Rutgers’ African-American Studies, Urban Studies, and Women’s Studies.