Class of 2022 Doctoral Students and Honorary Degree Recipients Celebrated at Hooding Ceremony
UMass Boston celebrated the Class of 2022 doctoral students and honorary degree recipients yesterday, kicking off two days of commencement events.
“ UMass Boston is a university for the times, no matter the times; and you are lifelong members of the UMass Boston community. ”
Vice Provost for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies Bala Sundaram welcomed the 2022 doctorate recipients, their faculty mentors, and families and friends to the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony.
“The doctoral awardees are now primed to take on exciting intellectual challenges,” Sundaram said. “I congratulate all the candidates, their mentors, and especially their essential support – those people who urged them on when things may have appeared just too overwhelming.”
This year, 124 students received their Doctor of Education, Doctor of Philosophy, or Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. In addressing the graduates, Provost Joseph Berger challenged them to seize the opportunity to make meaningful contributions and use their knowledge and experiences to be part of multi-faceted solutions going forward into the future.
“These are not merely opportunities; they are responsibilities you have as lifelong Beacons to be champions of the values we hold so dear here at UMass Boston,” Berger said. “UMass Boston is a university for the times, no matter the times; and you are lifelong members of the UMass Boston community.”
Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco addressed the graduates as newly trusted instructors and mentors who have the power to bolster their academic communities and help create a virtuous circle of academic excellence. He advised the new graduates to become ambassadors of their knowledge and to be prepared to share it meaningfully with the world.
“As you stand ready to receive your doctoral degrees, know that you will remain important to the university,” Chancellor Suárez-Orozco said. “Because of who you are, what you accomplished while you were at UMass Boston, and what you will contribute to the world in the years ahead.”
“Together, you are the new generation of rising academic leaders and topical experts,” he said. “You will be the ones to break ground on new discoveries, innovations, and knowledge.”
University Honors Four Global Leaders with Degrees
This year, UMass Boston also awarded four honorary degrees to individuals whose accomplishments represent the values of the institution.
Sisters Marie-Marguerite B. Clérié and Guylène Bouchereau Salès both received honorary doctor of humane letters degrees for their impactful work in Haiti after their father was executed under the dictatorship of François Duvalier. After this life-altering event, Clérié and Salès dedicated their lives to fighting for justice, human rights, and the future of Haiti.
As an advocate for education and awareness of Haiti’s national history, Clérié founded the Professional Association of Private Schools with a view of building bridges that could link educators and resources in Haiti. Her work has been essential to improving Haitian life. Clérié is also a co-founder, alongside her sister Salès and others, of the Duty of Memory Foundation which is dedicated to uncovering human rights crimes committed by the Duvalier regime.
“You have devoted your lives to human rights and educating Haitians about Haiti’s past,” Chancellor Suárez-Orozco said. “You converted the house your father built into Duty of Memory’s headquarters and the organization now incorporates one of the few museums in Haiti that educates those willing to listen, learn, and remember the history of their country.”
Robert Hildreth, a passionate advocate for access to higher education, received an honorary doctor of human letters degree for his commitment to enabling low-income students to attend college through his organizations La Vida Scholars, Inversant, and the Hildreth Institute. Hildreth’s work has helped students and families navigate the college preparation process, improve financial literacy, and bolstered the case for student debt reform and tuition relief.
Chancellor Suárez-Orozco noted that Hildreth’s tireless efforts to increase access to higher education also led him to serve on the UMass Boston Board of Visitors and donate more than $1 million to the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy.
Robert L. Rabin Siegel ‘77, received an honorary degree posthumously during a virtual ceremony in November 2020. Rabin was a leader in social and environmental justice issues impacting the health of people on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. After traveling to Vieques to study the actions of the U.S. Navy on the island, Rabin joined the Viequenses and became a leader of the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques (CRDV), the community organization that advocated sustainable development and an end to miliary occupation.
Rabin became a leading activist within the Peace and Justice camp which successfully helped end the use of the island as a bombing range and he continued to demonstrate his dedication to the Vieques community and social justice until his death in March 2022.