Commencement Distinguished Guests

Joy Tong

Joy Tong

Honorary Degree Recipient


Joy Tong is the founder and creative director of Group III International, Ltd. UMass Lowell’s new business building will be named for her and her husband.


Joy Tong is widely recognized as one of the leading creative forces in the travel goods industry. She is the only recipient of the coveted Industrial Designers Society of America’s “Gold Award” for luggage design and has been awarded numerous patents. 

Both an industry innovator and a first-rate entrepreneur and marketer, Tong founded Group III International, Ltd. in 1984 and now serves as the company’s president and creative director. From a small 5th Avenue office in New York’s fashion district, she and her husband, John Pulichino ’67, have steadily and successfully led the company’s phenomenal growth, turning an ambitious start-up with a great design concept into an industry leading company of truly global stature. 

Born and raised in Taiwan, Tong’s parents fled mainland China during the Communist revolution. After earning a bachelor’s degree at the World School of Journalism in Taipei, Tong worked in publishing with McGraw Hill in Singapore before coming to the United States to teach in the Linguistics Department at Cornell University. 

She moved to New York City to enter a retail management program at Bloomingdale’s and began her career in consumer marketing and fashion design, moving on to positions with Procter & Gamble and Johnson Matthey Corp.’s Bag Lab, before founding Group III. 

She and Pulichino established the Pulichino/Tong Family Foundation scholarship fund for students in UMass Lowell’s Manning School of Business. In recognition of their generosity, the University is naming its new business school building in their honor. She and Pulichino have been honored as members of the Chancellor’s Circle of Distinction. 

The couple resides in Boca Raton, Fla.