Message from Outer Space to Highlight Commencement
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.