Stories from UMass Boston Commencement 2011
June 07, 2011
For Christina Tassiopoulos, graduating from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences with a degree in exercise science was an important milestone not only for her, but her entire family.
“It’s a big deal because I’m the first one in my family to go to college,” the Canton resident explained. “My parents are from Greece and I feel like I’ve achieved the American dream.”
During his address at UMass Boston's 43rd Commencement on June 3, Chancellor J. Keith Motley spoke of how each of the 3,637 students graduating that day had their own stories to tell, all of them “inspiring in their own rights.”
UMass Boston students hail from 140 countries, and they speak 90 languages. Fifty-nine percent are first-generation college students.
After the ceremony, most graduates talked about meeting challenges, and working so hard for so long that commencement day seemed just a little surreal.
Kate Crohan, who is visually impaired, graduated alongside her son, Philip Crohan, earning her master's degree in Special Education: Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments through University College. Her son earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the College of Liberal Arts.
“It’s amazing. It’s incredible,” Kate Crohan said, about to attend her third ceremony of the day.
Mary Adams of Easton worked full-time as a nanny and at a homeless shelter while she earned a bachelor's degree in sociology; she said the reality of her graduation hadn’t set in quite yet, “but it feels good.”
Adams' mother Elaine and her brother Matt were here to support her.
"I'm incredibly proud of her," Matt Adams said.
Dorothy Du came to America 10 years ago. She graduated Friday with a degree in finance.
"I have been waiting for this day for a long time," she said.
Paul Doyle of Abington was inspired to get his degree at UMass Boston through his work with his union. Doyle took night classes while he worked full-time at NSTAR, and earned a bachelor's degree in labor studies from the College of Public and Community Service Friday.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said.
Ed Anthes-Washburn, who earned a master's degree in public policy and works as director of operations for the Port of New Bedford, brought his "little brother" from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program to campus to watch him graduate.
Tyler Ciovacco, an exercise science major from Hingham, was celebrating not only his degree on Friday, but his future- he will work as a personal trainer at Boston fitness center Fitcorp.
“I’m very excited. The hard work is paying off,” he said.