News and Announcements
View photos from 2011 Commencement ceremonies and watch video of Undergraduate guest speaker Catherine "Cady" Coleman who addressed the graduates from the International Space Station, in space.
The 141st undergraduate Commencement at the University of Massachusetts Amherst soared to heavenly heights today as a crowd of 20,000 celebrated the graduation of 4,300 students and heard alumna Cady Coleman offer congratulations from 200 miles above Earth in the International Space Station.
In a videotaped address, astronaut Coleman told the graduates that "the possibilities for the future are limitless. You have the power of an education, and there’s a lot that you can do with that." Coleman challenged the Class of 2011 to address the many problems facing "this fragile oasis," Earth, by learning to build teams whose strengths complement each other. "Our world is a fragile place, and it has a lot of different, difficult situations that we as a people need to deal with. I think that you, as graduates, are part of the solution. The challenge there is that no single one of you can solve large problems all by yourself."
The NASA astronaut earned her doctorate in polymer science and engineering from UMass Amherst in 1991. She has been an astronaut since 1992 and is now a veteran of three missions. Joining Coleman in her salute was fellow space traveler Sam the Minuteman, bobble head version, who vigorously nodded approval of her remarks.
UMass Amherst Chancellor Robert C. Holub presided at the ceremony held at Warren P. McGuirk Alumni Stadium. UMass President Jack M. Wilson, who is retiring this year, conferred the degrees, and was praised by Holub for his service to the university.
Holub told the graduates, "From this day forward, you will be a proud alumnus of an educational powerhouse, the flagship campus of the Common?wealth of Massachusetts. I hope that, as so many of our alumni have told me of their own experiences, you someday look back on your days here as a time of happiness, intellectual challenge and self-discovery."
During the ceremony, the university conferred an honorary doctorate degree to David Gergen, a former White House senior aide to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton. He is currently a professor of public service and director of the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, editor-at-large for U.S. News & World Report and a senior political analyst for CNN.
Gergen told the graduates, "There’s no graduation in America that’s better than this one!" He observed how fitting it is, 50 years after President John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts called upon the nation to send an explorer to the moon, that the commencement speaker at UMass Amherst is an astronaut and alumna, orbiting in space. "Best of all, this astronaut is a woman and she holds a Ph.D. degree in science from this university!"
This year’s student speaker, Alan Taylor Ulichney of Stow, Mass., earned a dual major in journalism and economics. He won a competitive internship at Jones & Bartlett Publishing in Sudbury last summer and used the opportunity to work in several departments at the firm. Ulichney intends to attend graduate school after taking some time to travel.
Eleven members of the graduating class were honored as 21st Century Leaders. This award recognizes graduating seniors who have demonstrated exemplary standards of achievement, initiative and social awareness.
Astronaut Cady Coleman addresses UMass Amherst graduates from space:
Speakers at the 89th commencement for the Stockbridge School of Agriculture told 82 graduates in six majors they will become stewards of the world through their chosen professions as well as the latest addition to a long standing family of graduates who support each other.
Degrees were awarded to 18 graduates in arboriculture and community forest management, four in equine industries, six in fruit and vegetable crops, 11 in horticulture, 19 in landscape contracting and 24 in turfgrass management.
William L. Mitchell, director of the Stockbridge School, presided at the ceremony with Robert C. Holub, UMass Amherst chancellor, UMass President Jack M. Wilson, and Steve Goodwin, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. In his remarks to the graduates, Goodwin said they will be going out into a world where there is a critical need for professionals to create and maintain sustainable farms, sustainable foods and a sustainable landscape. He also urged the graduates to take a moment amid their celebrations to thank parents, friends and others who supported them in reaching their goals.
Holub told the graduates the school’s roots trace back to the founding of the university, which was originally called Massachusetts Agricultural College. Holub said even in its early days, the Stockbridge School had a tradition of enduring connections among its graduates. "They kept in touch by letter and visited one another at their farms, dairies and greenhouses throughout the Northeast. Today, Stockbridge alumni stay in contact, golf together, form business partnerships, give back to the alma mater and remain friends for life."
Wilson told the graduates he expects them to do what all previous classes from the Stockbridge School have done: work hard and leave an enduring mark on the world.
Scott J. Soares, state commissioner of agriculture and an alumnus of UMass Dartmouth, was the guest speaker. He told the graduates he was pleased to be talking to an audience that didn’t have to be reminded there are still farms in Massachusetts. Soares also told the graduates that Massachusetts maintains consistently high national rankings for protecting open space and is sixth in the nation in the number of farmer’s markets. He offered the graduates three related pieces of advice. "Be a good listerner; be a good partner, and be a seeker of opportunity," Soares told them.
The Graduate School conferred more than 300 doctoral degrees and more than 1,000 master's degrees Friday morning as graduates gathered with their friends and family to hear author and environmental activist Bill McKibben warn that it will take scholars and citizens of every discipline to deal with global warming.
The ceremony repeatedly highlighted the role of the campus's graduate students in taking on some of the thorniest challenges facing the planet as well as strengthening the teaching, researching and outreach roles of the university in its increasing global reach.
"You have been instrumental in helping the university to achieve strong results in the National Research Council Rankings and to place among the top 20 universities in the world in the Times of London reputational ranking," Chancellor Robert C. Holub told the degree recipients.
"The range of your accomplishments in these areas is astounding," Holub continued. "A quick look at the commencement program shows work on post-conflict Rwanda, osteoarthritis, behavioral labor economics, the dawn song of tree swallows, and the production of renewable fuels from biomass."
"And you have made it your responsibility to help fulfill the campus's mission of outreach to our valley and far beyond. For example, graduate students help organize an annual Native American pow-wow on our campus, improve access to higher education in Afghanistan, prepare tax returns for low-income and foreign students, and organize charitable events for a multitude of causes each year."
That message of global service and responsibility continued to echo as Holub presented an honorary doctor of science degree to McKibbon, whose 1989 book, The End of Nature, has served as a rallying cry regarding causes and consequences of global warming.
UMass Amherst climatologists were among the earliest to document global warming and its graduate students repeatedly break new ground in areas such as renewable fuels to climate research to educational access in Afghanistan, noted McKibbon, whose most recent book is "Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet."
"But it will take fine minds in every field, participants of every field there is to act not just as doctors and masters, but as citizens," said McKibben. "It is that role in which you will, or will not, guarantee a solution to global warming."
Also honored during Friday's Graduate Commencement ceremony was Yusef A. Lateef, the Grammy Award-winning composer, performer, recording artist, author, educator and philosopher who taught at the Five Colleges for more than 14 years until his retirement in 2002. He earned his doctorate through the School of Education in 1975.
Eleven members of the graduating class will be honored as 21st Century Leaders at the Undergraduate Commencement. The award recognizes graduating seniors who have demonstrated exemplary standards of achievement, initiative and social awareness.
The students are: Trent P. Ainsworth, of Westport, a kinesiology and pre-medical major; Michael Housni Basmaji, of Westford, a classics major; Caitlin C. Bogdan, of Neptune, N.J., a mechanical engineering and classics major; Celeste M. DiGloria, of South Easton, a psychology major; Marina K. Garas, of Arlington, a psychology major; Sophie Kolchin-Miller, of Amherst, an anthropology major; Andrew J. Kalinowski, of Shrewsbury, an accounting and information systems and economics major; Saranthip Rattanaserikiat, of Northampton, a civil and environmental engineering major; Christina L. Roth, of Hingham, a psychology major; Teresa Skelly, of Springfield, a sport management major, and Brian Tino, of Tewksbury, a finance major.
In addition, two graduating students, Joseph Bliss and Igor Dobrusin, will be recognized for their leadership and executive ability as Jack Welch Scholars. Bliss, of Medway, is the student member of the UMass Amherst Foundation Board of Directors and a mechanical engineering major. Dobrusin, of Needham, is a finance and philosophy double major. Funded by a gift from the GE Foundation in honor of alumnus Jack Welch, the scholarships provide full funding for recipients throughout their undergraduate years, including support for summer research and study abroad. Welch Scholars are chosen for their academic achievements, social responsibility and leadership potential as demonstrated throughout their high school careers.
The student speaker at the Undergraduate Commencement will be graduating senior Alan Taylor Ulichney, of Stow, a dual major in journalism and economics. He won a competitive internship at Jones & Bartlett Publishing in Sudbury last summer, and used the opportunity to work in several departments at the firm. Ulichney says he intends to go to graduate school after taking some time to travel and relax following his graduation.
Undergraduate Commencement will feature a videotaped address from alumna and NASA astronaut Catherine "Cady" Coleman who is currently on board the International Space Station. Coleman will be offering congratulations to the 4,300 Earth-bound graduates at ceremonies at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.Coleman earned her doctorate in polymer science and engineering from UMass Amherst and is a chemist and retired U.S. Air Force colonel. Coleman earned her bachelor’s degree from MIT in 1983, was commissioned an Air Force lieutenant that same year and began her graduate work at UMass Amherst. She entered active duty in 1988 and retired from the Air Force in 2009. She was chosen by NASA in 1992 to be an astronaut. She is a veteran of two previous Space Shuttle missions.
David Gergen, a former White House senior aide to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, will receive an honorary doctorate at the undergraduate ceremony. Alumnus Jerome M. Paros, an internationally known leader in the field of measurement science, along with alumnus Kenneth L. Brayman, pioneer in diabetes research, scholar, researcher and surgeon, will receive Distinguished Achievement Awards.
Gergen is currently a professor of public service and director of the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, editor-at-large for U.S. News & World Report and senior political analyst for CNN. Gergen is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School and a U.S. Navy veteran.
Paros, a native of Springfield, Mass., is the founder of Redmond, Washington-based Paroscientific Inc., and related companies that manufacture sensors using the quartz crystal resonator technology Paros developed. His company employs nearly 50 and has annual sales in excess of $10 million. In 2006, Paros received the Albert F. Sperry Founder Award from the International Society of Automation for his work. Brayman has expertise in transplant surgery for renal and pancreatic diseases. In 2007, as director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Cellular Transplantation and Therapeutics, Brayman led the search for an alternative treatment for type 1 diabetes.
The university will continue an exciting tradition at this year’s Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony. A parade of flags for the countries represented by our graduating international students will be a part the Undergraduate Commencement exercises. If you would like to take part in the processional on Friday, May 13, 2011, at 5:00 p.m., by carrying the flag of your country please contact Terry Sall at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 9, 2011.
Students who participated in the processional last year were thrilled with the enthusiastic welcome they received from their classmates and guests. Graduates carry the flags into the stadium at the beginning of the commencement ceremony, place the flag in special stands on the field, then join their classmates for the remainder of the ceremony. If you have questions, please call Terry at 413-545-4894. In circumstances when more than one person volunteers to do this for the same country, the first request will be accepted as the flag carrier, and others may march beside the flag carrier.
Reserve now to enjoy a celebratory dinner in our all-you-care-to-eat Dining Commons. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be available at our stunning, award-winning Berkshire Dining Commons and Hampshire Dining Commons in the Southwest Residential Area. Families of graduating students currently on a UMass meal plan may join their student for complimentary meals. All other students and families, faculty, and staff may dine with us at the Faculty/Staff rate of $6.50 for breakfast, $8.50 for lunch and $10.00 for dinner. Our dinner menu will feature steak, sustainably-caught salmon, scallops, sushi and world cuisines.
If you are staying at the UMass Hotel at the Campus Center or in Residential Hall-Style Lodging, enjoy a $1.00 discount on all dinner meals. When checking in, please ask for your meal discount coupon.
Hours: Friday, May 13, 2011, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, May 14, 2011, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 15, 2011, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Reservations are encouraged. Please complete the online reservations form.
Sign up for the Office of Parent Services Mailing List and keep up with what's happening on campus as your student prepares to graduate from UMass Amherst.The parent mailing list is a bimontly email news to families about timely issues, campus happenings, and important upcoming dates for students and tips for families.
The Office of Parent Services is dedicated to helping families with their transition to the university. Our office is here to answer questions, provide timely information and updates, and assist parents and guardians with questions or concerns. Their helpful, knowledgeable staff responds to your phone call or email and is a place to contact when you don't know where to go.
Share the joy of 4,000 graduating seniors with their 20,000 guests as they leave their UMass Amherst student days and launch their newly minted alumni lives. To ensure smooth sailing on their departure date, Friday, May 13, we need volunteers to help as marshals, ushers, aides, and golf cart drivers. Your help will make this important event a success.
- Marshals organize graduates by school or college for the student processional into the stadium; escort them onto the field; and serve as field monitors. We need 60 people for this task.
- Aides greet guests as they enter the stadium, distribute programs, give directions, and direct guests to their seats. We need 50 people for this task.
- Ushers are in the stands and aid guests with seating, directions, and program information. We need 40 people for this task.
- Golf Cart Drivers transport guests with mobility issues from handicapped parking area and bus stop to stadium entrance gates.
You’ll see degrees conferred, flags unfurled, and mortarboards tossed into the air. In appreciation for your service to the university, you will receive a commemorative glass, snacks, and an opportunity to win fabulous prizes. Have high school aged children? They can volunteer too!
- Volunteer Rehearsal: Wednesday, May 11 at 10:00 a.m. at McGuirk Alumni Stadium
Report times on Friday, May 13:
- Aides and Users: Report at 3:00 p.m.
- Marshals: Report at 3:30 p.m.
- Golf Cart Drivers: Report at 3:00 p.m.
Interested? Complete the Volunteer Registration Form.