Two Named Jack Welch Scholars at UMass Amherst

Entering students awarded full, four-year scholarships

AMHERST, Mass. – Two entering University of Massachusetts Amherst undergraduates are the latest recipients of full scholarships named for John F. Welch, Jr., the former chairman and chief executive officer of General Electric Company, who graduated from UMass in 1957.

Joseph Bliss of Medway, Mass., and Igor Dobrusin of Needham, Mass., were selected from applicants across the nation who demonstrated high standards in academics, social responsibility and leadership. Students studying engineering or management who qualify for admission to Commonwealth College, the university’s honors college, receive preference. The merit scholarships cover the full cost of tuition, fees, and room and board. The scholarships are supported by a $5 million donation from the GE Foundation.

Bliss plans to study mechanical engineering, while Dobrusin will pursue a business degree. Both students have been accepted into Commonwealth College.

Bliss was valedictorian of his graduating class at Medway High School, where he was a member of the National Honor Society and captain of the varsity golf team. He also played on the varsity basketball and baseball teams and was chosen as an honorable mention all-star in both sports. For the past two summers, he has worked at Glen Ellen Country Club in Millis.

A graduate of Needham High School, Dobrusin and his family immigrated from Ukraine when he was 3 years old and he grew up speaking Ukrainian and Russian. As a sophomore and junior in high school, he finished fourth in the state in debate and he also served as treasurer of his debate team. He holds a black belt in kung fu and volunteers with a martial arts program at the Needham YMCA. He has also been a counselor at a tennis camp. While in high school, Dobrusin completed a calculus course through the Harvard Extension School.

Both students said they were elated when they learned about their selection as Welch scholars.

“I was pretty stunned at first,” said Bliss. “My parents were ecstatic about the award.”

“Needless to say, my family is very grateful that I got the scholarship,” said Dobrusin. “College is now free for me, and I will graduate with absolutely no debt.”

The scholarships were first awarded in 2003 and the initial Jack Welch Scholars graduated from UMass Amherst in May.

Joseph Bliss can be reached at 508/533-2262 or and Igor Dobrusin can be contacted at 781/444-7421 or