UMass Lowell graduated 3,169 students on May 18 — setting a record for the sixth consecutive year. Enrollment has grown by 40 percent in the meantime; this year, the student body numbered more than 16,000 for the first time in the University’s history and represented more than 53 countries.
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, who returned to his hometown to deliver the keynote address at the undergraduate commencement ceremony, spoke about his role in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. He told students that his leadership during that time was the result of lessons he’s learned over the course of his life, from is days as a college student until today.
“You have had exceptional instructors during your time here at UMass Lowell, and I guarantee you that at some point in your lives, probably when you are completely not expecting it, you will hearken back to some pearl of wisdom that was imparted on you during one of your classes here,” said Davis, who was Lowell police superintendent for 12 years.
Chancellor Marty Meehan ’78, who presided over the exercises, expressed his pride in students’ collective efforts to give back.
“I’m proud that so many of you recognize the need to give of yourself to help make this world a better place,” he said. “We all saw how important it is to help one other on Patriot’s Day in Boston. … It is my hope that you will remain active citizens who become deeply engaged in your community. Because it’s my experience and my belief that better towns, better schools, better neighborhoods, better countries and better societies, result from citizens being involved and taking pride in where they live.”
UMass Lowell graduates have much to be proud of, said Davis, who evoked the “Boston Strong” refrain made popular following the marathon tragedy: “All of you should proudly and loudly proclaim 'I am strong,' because, indeed, you are. I am confident that given the chance, all of you are capable of achieving greatness. So many of the nearly 80,000 alumni of this University are scattered to the four corners of the world, but many of them continue to give back to the place where they got their start, and they stand UMass Lowell Strong.”
$725,000 for Scholarships
For the sixth year in a row, UMass Lowell has broken a record for the funds raised for student scholarships — $725,000 — through its annual Commencement Eve Celebration. Since 2008, $3 million has been raised.
The annual gala at the University’s Inn & Conference Center celebrated the following honorary degree recipients: Boston Police Commissioner Davis, social entrepreneur Harish Hande ’98, ’00, local philanthropist and arts advocate Nancy Donahue, medical-device entrepreneurs and philanthropists Elisia and Mark Saab ’81 and Distinguished Alumni Award winner Bernard Shapiro ’56. A posthumous Distinguished Alumni Award was also bestowed upon Gary M. Mucica ’71.
Commencement Eve also honored outstanding members of the Class of 2013 who have excelled in academics and service to the campus and community. Ten of the graduates achieved perfect 4.0 grade point averages.
“Our annual Commencement Eve Celebration recognizes and honors the accomplishments of our outstanding graduates, alumni and community leaders,” says Chancellor Meehan. “Each year, the celebration raises crucial scholarship funds for our students. With the generous support of alumni and friends of the University, again we have achieved a record-breaking year in fundraising through this signature event.”