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LOWELL - Margot Wallström, first vice president of the European Commission, encouraged graduates of the University of Massachusetts Lowell to utilize traditional American values to help build a safe future.
"Here you have a very fine track record in the past to fall back on: democracy, human rights and freedom of speech. If you guys make sure you never lose sight of those values, you can never go wrong," she said. "You have not been educated to be moderate - and indeed not to be indifferent. Now it's your responsibility to live up to that."
Wallström, who also received an honorary degree, spoke to the nearly 2,000 graduates receiving bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees on Sunday, June 5 at the Tsongas Arena. Degrees conferred included 70 doctorates - up from the annual average of 55.
Wallström, who also is the European commissioner for institutional relations and communications strategy, previously served as European commissioner for the environment and as a member of the Swedish Parliament.
She encouraged graduates to utilize the tools given by the University to "to take good care of each other and this planet."
"The University of Massachusetts Lowell has a renowned focus on sustainable, regional, economic and social development," she said. "You will be well equipped to understand and act on the real matters in the real world.
In addition to Wallström, others receiving honorary degrees included geneticist and microbiologist John Beckwith, who is currently working in the Genetics Screening Study Group in Boston; and Eric S. Lander, former leader of the Human Genome Project and current director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. James V. Dandeneau, vice president of Memry Corporation, received the Distinguished Alumni Award.
The University of Massachusetts Lowell, a comprehensive university with special expertise in applied science and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental, and social health of the region. UML offers its 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students more than 80 degree programs in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, and the School of Health and Environment and the Graduate School of Education. Visit the website at www.uml.edu.