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U.S. Rep. John Lewis to Deliver UML Commencement Address


LOWELL ߞ; U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) will deliver this year’s commencement address at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.  The announcement was made today (April 12, 2007) by U.S. Rep. and incoming UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan at an on-campus event.  Lewis’s participation comes as the result of a personal request that Meehan made to his colleague in the House.      

Lewis, now serving his 11th term as a congressman from Georgia, will speak to the nearly 2,000 graduates expected to receive bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees on Sunday, June 3, 2007 at 9:30 a.m. at LeLacheur Park in Lowell. 
Described as “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced,” John Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights and securing personal dignity.  His early experiences included his involvement in the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., which helped lead to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. 

Lewis is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Martin Luther King, Jr. Non-Violent Peace Prize.

“My friend John Lewis is a hero of the civil rights movement.  I cannot think of a better role model for today’s students, who are entering a nation facing challenges on many fronts ߝ in the areas of civil rights, global warming, and the war in Iraq, to name just a few,” Meehan said.

This year, UML will award honorary degrees to Jack Kerouac (posthumously), L. Donald Latorre and Philip Leder.  Kerouac, an American literary icon and Lowell native, was the author of more than 30 books.  Latorre is president of L&G Management Consultants in Holmes Beach, Fla., the former president and COO for Englehard Corp. and a 1960 graduate of Lowell Technological Institute (UMass Lowell).  Leder is a professor and chair of the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School.

“We are honored and very pleased to have such a distinguished leader as John Lewis serve as our commencement speaker,” says John Wooding, UML provost.  “We are also pleased with our new commencement format, where diplomas will be awarded at the individual college ceremonies, allowing for graduation to be more focused on the students and their achievements.”

The commencement ceremony provides the opportunity to recognize students for outstanding academic and service achievements. This year's valedictorian will be named, along with recipients of the Chancellor's Medal for Distinguished Academic Achievement.
Following the University-wide ceremony at LeLacheur Park, master’s and bachelor’s degree candidates will receive their diplomas at individual college ceremonies that will take place at noon at various locations on campus. Doctoral degree candidates will receive their diplomas at the university-wide event. 

More information, including a complete schedule of commencement day activities, is available at
* Editor's Note:  Photos and bios available upon request

UMass Lowell, a comprehensive university with a national reputation in science, engineering and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success in a diverse world and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region. UML offers its 11,000 students more than 120 degree choices, internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral studies in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education.

For more information, contact or 978-934-3224