Twitter Executive, Internet Entrepreneur Wayne Chang to be Commencement Speaker at UMass Amherst on May 6

Wayne Chang
Wayne Chang
Sheila Bair
Sheila Bair

AMHERST, Mass. – Wayne Chang, who launched his career as a high-tech entrepreneur while a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, will be the featured speaker at the school’s Undergraduate Commencement on Friday, May 6. He will address about 5,500 students receiving bachelor’s degrees, as well as family and friends, at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.

During the ceremony, Chang will be awarded an honorary doctorate. Currently director of product strategy at Twitter, Chang joined the company after it acquired Crashlytics, a mobile crash-reporting service he co-founded in 2011, for a reported price of more than $100 million in 2013.

UMass Amherst will also award an honorary doctorateto Sheila C. Bair, who chaired the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from June 2006 through July 2011, one of the nation’s most challenging economic periods. Her work at the FDIC brought her recognition by Time magazine as one of the world’s most influential people.

Bair’s career has included stints as a Senate aide, senior vice president for government relations at the New York Stock Exchange, assistant secretary for financial institutions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and as a faculty member at UMass Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management from 2002-06. Last year, she was appointed president of Washington College in Maryland.

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Chang wrote his first software program on an Apple IIe at age seven. While attending high school in Haverhill, Mass., he was part of the team at Napster, the first peer-to-peer file-sharing system. As an undergraduate at UMass Amherst, Chang created i2hub to provide what was then something absolutely unique: a platform through which college students could interact with one another. Launched in February 2003, within a month it had to shut down, unable to handle the traffic coming its way. Chang retooled the site and reopened it in March 2004. It went on to provide stiff competition for the newly introduced Facebook, but was shut down in November 2005 due to legal pressure.

“Wayne Chang epitomizes the can-do spirit so many immigrants bring to our country as well as the entrepreneurial nature of his generation,” says UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. “His inventions and investments are transforming how the world connects, communicates and conducts business. I’m sure his words will inspire our graduates as we bid them farewell.”

Chang also founded the Scene Review News Network. In 1999, he was a security consultant for AllAdvantage and in 2002 he became a director at Pacific Northwest Software. In 2007, he founded Boylston Technology Group. Chang also has served on the board of directors of the nonprofit Community Dispute Settlement Center.

An avid and prescient angel investor, Chang has gotten in on the ground floor at more than 40 companies, including DraftKings, JetSmarter, SURKUS, Tablelist, SoFi, Gusto, Planet Labsand Slash Keyboard. He is also a limited partner in several prominent venture funds and has financed an award-winning film, and a second to be released next year.

UMass Amherst’s Commencement ceremony will begin at 4:30 p.m. at McGuirk Alumni Stadium on Friday, May 6. Full details can be found at www.umass.edu/commencement

The Graduate School Commencement is scheduled for Friday, May 6 at 9 a.m. at the Mullins Center, and the Stockbridge School of Agriculture will hold its ceremony on Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m. in Bowker Auditorium, Stockbridge Hall.