By Jennifer Nejman Bohonak
Open-mindedness about learning opportunities, an unwavering commitment to making a difference in the world, and a tireless work ethic were just some of the characteristics shared by recipients of the 2022 University Alumni Awards.
“Since 1998, the University Alumni Awards have honored those stars among us who epitomize our values: hard work, integrity and compassion through contributions to their professions, UMass Lowell and their communities,” Heather Makrez Allen ’06, ’08, ’21, executive director of Alumni and Donor Relations, said at the April 14 event.
For the first time, the university bestowed three Young Alumni Awards. The recipients were Kelly Michael Skelton ’18, ’19, Lucy Wafo ’11, ’13 and Kelly Freitas ’16. Wafo, a staff pharmacist at Johns Hopkins Medicine Outpatient Pharmacy, volunteers and advises graduating UML seniors. Wafo, who was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, co-founded The Mission, a nonprofit that provides free medical access to underserved communities in Cameroon.
“No matter what is happening on the outside, stay true to your values and objectives in life,” Wafo said.
Seven alumni were recognized with college alumni awards: Kristine ’74 and Louis Beaudette ’74; Jon Geanakos ’84; Toby Hodes ’58; Janice ‘00 and Richard ‘96 Lemoine; and Natalie Olson ’88.
Geanakos, executive managing director and global co-head of investor client relations at Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc., emphasized believing in yourself and giving selflessly.
And Hodes, a retired administrator for General Electric Co., who broke barriers as a woman engineer in the late 1950s, said, “I truly believe my education at Lowell Tech prepared me to succeed.”