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UMass Lowell Graduates Record Number


Democratic Leadership Council Chairman Addresses 2,200 Graduates

LOWELL, Mass. ߝ Chancellor Marty Meehan presided over Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 30 at the University of Massachusetts Lowell when 2,200 graduates ߝ a  record number for the university ߝ received bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

During the ceremony, held at the Tsongas Arena, Meehan challenged the Class of 2009 to seize the power of their education to take an active role in their community and the world.

“Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.’ This is an unprecedented moment of change in our nation and in the world. Going forward, I hope all of you will be active citizens who are deeply engaged with public affairs, from local issues to global concerns,” Meehan told graduates. “Remember, we call this ceremony Commencement because it is just the beginning of the great things that you can accomplish.”

Harold Ford Jr., Democratic Leadership Council chairman and former Congressman from Tennessee, served as the Commencement speaker. Ford is also a news analyst for NBC and MSNBC, and a visiting professor of public policy at Vanderbilt University.

“The core challenge for these graduates is to use their gifts of knowledge, kindness and courage to help shape a future as bold and daring as the ones our forefathers dreamed of and fought for,” said Ford. 

UMass President Jack Wilson praised this year’s graduates for the work they are doing on sustainability and green technology, and in business, education and health care, both in Massachusetts and around the world.

“Every one of our graduates has a story to tell and will leave this ceremony not just with a degree, but with real accomplishments to his or her credit and with the ambition to do much, much more,” Wilson said.

Abbey Denaro, a graduating senior in exercise physiology from North Reading and one of the recipients of this year’s Chancellor’s Medal for Student Service, was the student speaker.

“UMass Lowell’s students are unique in the way that each of us embodies a no-nonsense, hard-working character and ethic,” Denaro said, likening the experience of attending college to the Merrimack River’s winding flow to the Atlantic.  “UMass Lowell has provided us with the skills to create our own unique means to successfully navigate to the ocean of opportunity…In essence, if we all use the skills that we have been developing here at UMass Lowell, and if we continue to be motivated in the manner that got us here today, then no obstacle will ever block or prevent the journey of our future.”

The University also recognized outstanding individuals in a variety of fields with honorary degrees. They are:

  • Bernard Amadei, the founding president of Engineers Without Borders-USA and co-founder of Engineers Without Borders-International. A professor of civil engineering at the University of Colorado, Amadei directs the new Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities, which aims to educate engineering students and professionals on creating sustainable solutions to the problems faced by communities worldwide. He was recently elected a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and has co-authored two books and nearly 160 technical papers
  • George L. Duncan, the founding chairman of Enterprise Bank, a locally owned financial institution headquartered in Lowell and serving 15 communities. Duncan is  a founding member of several organizations, including the Greater Lowell Technical High School, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell Development and Financial Corporation and Lowell Telecommunications Corp. Duncan is chairman of the board of trustees of Lowell General Hospital and a board member and former president of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation. He serves on the advisory committees of the Revolving Museum and Whistler House Museum of Art and is on the boards of the Greater Lowell Technical High School Charitable Foundation, UMass Lowell’s School of Health and Environment, the Lowell Green Building Commission and the Lowell Cemetery Commission.
  • Chaz Maviyane-Davies, described as the “guerilla of graphic design,” takes on issues of consumerism, health, nutrition, social responsibility, the environment and human rights through his art. He uses African proverbs and cultural symbols to illuminate present-day concerns about human rights, the environment and other social justice causes. A native of Zimbabwe who has studied and worked in Britain, Japan, Malaysia, the U.S. and Zimbabwe, Maviyane-Davies is a professor at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. Until recently, he ran the renowned design studio in Zimbabwe, The Maviyane-Project. His art work is included in several permanent collections and he has been published in numerous books, international magazines and newspapers.
  • Robert C. Pozen is chairman of MFS Investment Management, which manages more than $150 billion in assets for more than five million investors worldwide. He served as secretary of economic affairs under Gov. Mitt Romney, chairman of an advisory committee charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with devising a way to improve financial reporting and on President George W. Bush’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security. Pozen, a former Fidelity Investments top executive, is on the board of directors of Medtronic and Bell Canada Enterprises and teaches business courses at Harvard University.

Kathleen Beaumont Allen ’77 was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award. Allen served as corporate vice president and chief financial officer of Millipore Corp., based in Billerica, until her retirement in 2008. Allen was a recipient of the 2003 Francis Cabot Lowell Award in honor of her contributions to the university community. She is also a member of the College of Management Advisory Board.

Student award winners were recognized at a pre-Commencement scholarship fundraiser on Friday, May 29. Hosted by Meehan, the event raised more than $300,000 for scholarships. Top honors included co-valedictorians Vinayta Ahuja of Andover and Melissa Smithurst of Sandown, N.H. The Chancellor’s Medals for Academic Achievement were awarded to the following students: Jayne L. Allen of Tewksbury (College of Arts and Sciences’ Division of Humanities and Social Sciences); Nicole Ananian of Newburyport (College of Arts and Sciences’ Division of Fine Arts); Brian Foley of Billerica (College of Engineering); John Fuex of Elgin, Texas (College of Arts and Sciences’ Division of Sciences); Cindy Ann Wilson of Chelmsford (College of Management); and Smithurst and Ahuja (School of Health and Environment).

The University Scholar-Athlete Award went to Bridgette Hooker of Belmont. In addition to Denaro, student service award winners were Sarah Brassard of Oxford, Coreen Edward of Boston, Krista Perry of Seekonk, Colleen Phelan of Lynn and Ruben Pascal Sanca of Boston. Community service award winners were Shannon Corcoran of Tyngsboro, Melissa Dorval of Shirley, Paul Litchfield of Burlington, Amy Musgrave of Chelmsford and Michael Peeples of Lowell.

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. It 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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