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Commencement Eve Event Raises $300,000 for Scholarships


Honorary Degree Recipients, Student and Alumni Awardees Celebrated

LOWELL, Mass. ߞ; UMass Lowell raised more than $300,000 for student scholarships at its Commencement Eve Celebration on Friday, May 29 ߝ one of the largest amounts ever raised through a single event on campus. Close to 300 guests honored 19 student award winners, the university’s Commencement speaker, Harold Ford Jr., four honorary degree award recipients and the Distinguished Alumni Award winner at the reception at Allen House.

The money raised through sponsorships and ticket sales will go to the UMass Lowell Scholars Fund, which assists students with tuition and other financial needs.

John F. Kennedy ’70, chairman of the Commencement Eve Host Committee, highlighted the students in attendance, who were honored for their leadership and service to the community and on campus, as well as academic achievement.

“More than anything else, these students represent why we are here tonight,” said Kennedy, a Concord resident. “For many, the scholarships they received made a difference in how involved they could become in student life, how much time they could devote to their studies, and whether they could achieve the success we celebrate tonight.”

Students honored were:

Chancellor’s Medal for Student Service: Sarah Brassard, exercise physiology, Oxford; Abbey Denaro, exercise physiology, North Reading; Coreen Edward, political science, Boston; Krista Perry, English, Seekonk; Colleen Phelan, environmental health, Lynn; Ruben Pascal Sanca, business administration, Boston.

University Medal for Community Service: Shannon Corcoran, nursing, Tyngsboro; Melissa Dorval, creative writing, Shirley; Paul Litchfield, accounting and finance, Burlington; Amy Musgrave, civil/environmental engineering, Chelmsford; Michael S. Peeples, business administration, Lowell.

University Scholar-Athlete Award: Bridgette Hooker, nursing, Belmont.

Chancellor’s Medal for Academic Achievement (presented by each college):
Jayne L. Allen, psychology, Tewksbury (College of Arts and Sciences’ Division of Humanities and Social Sciences); Nicole Ananian, fine arts, Newburyport (College of Arts and Sciences’ Division of Fine Arts); Brian Foley, electrical engineering, Billerica (College of Engineering); John Fuex, Elgin, Texas, information technology (College of Arts and Sciences’ Division of Sciences); Melissa Smithurst, health education/community health, Sandown, N.H. (School of Health and Environment); Vinayta Ahuja, clinical lab sciences, Andover (School of Health and Environment); Cindy Ann Wilson, Chelmsford (College of Management). Smithurst and Ahuja are co-valedictorians of the Class of 2009.

Attendees heard brief talks by Ford, chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, former Congressman from Tennessee and current national news analyst; and the honorary degree recipients: Bernard Amadei, founder of Engineers Without Borders; George Duncan, chairman of Enterprise Bank; Chaz Maviyane-Davies, a professor and artist; and Robert Pozen, chairman of MFS Investments and a former Fidelity Investments top executive. The Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, Kathleen Beaumont Allen, who retired in 2008 as corporate vice president and chief financial officer of Billerica-based Millipore Corp., also spoke.

The Charles Carroll Scholarship Endowment Fund, named after the outgoing dean of the Division of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, also was announced.

“This is a great preview of the excellence that we celebrate at Commencement tomorrow,” said Chancellor Marty Meehan.

Commencement ceremonies will take place on Saturday, May 30, starting at 10 a.m. at the Tsongas Arena. About 2,200 graduates, the highest number in UMass Lowell history, are expected to receive bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. 

UMass Lowell, 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 12,000 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. .

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