UMass Amherst Commencement Activities Set for Friday, Saturday; Total of 4,250 Undergrads Will Receive Degrees

AMHERST, Mass. – This Friday and Saturday will be busy at the state’s flagship public university, as the University of Massachusetts Amherst hosts families from across the country and the world at a variety of Commencement activities, culminating with Undergraduate Commencement on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. when approximately 4,250 students will receive their degrees. Alumnus and businessman Earl W. Stafford will be the featured speaker at the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony.

The Stockbridge School will hold its graduation ceremony on Friday, May 22 at 11 a.m. in Bowker Auditorium. Approximately 100 candidates will receive associate of science degrees. The guest speaker will be Paul E. Rogers, a 1951 alumnus of the floriculture program who currently is a newspaper columnist and radio talk show host who specializes in gardening. Steve Goodwin, dean of the College of Natural Resources and the Environment, and William Mitchell, director of the Stockbridge School, will give brief opening remarks.

The Graduate School Commencement will be held Friday, May 22 at 2 p.m. at the Mullins Center, where approximately 1,200 candidates will receive master’s and doctoral degrees. John R. Mullin, dean of the Graduate School, will offer a welcome, and UMass Amherst Chancellor Robert C. Holub will deliver brief remarks.

Additional events on May 22 include:

Army ROTC Commissioning Ceremony, Bernie Dallas Room in Goodell Hall, 9 a.m.
Air Force ROTC Commissioning Ceremony, Bernie Dallas Room in Goodell Hall, 4:30 p.m.

On Saturday, May 23, Commonwealth College will hold its Celebration of Excellence at 9 a.m. at the Mullins Center.

The university will hold its Undergraduate Commencement at Warren P. McGuirk Alumni Stadium on Saturday, May 23 from 12:30-2:30 p.m. Approximately 4,250 graduates will receive bachelor’s degrees. Alumnus Earl W. Stafford, a Virginia businessman and organizer of the “Peoples’ Inaugural Project,” which invited disadvantaged people to President Barack Obama’s inauguration, will be the speaker and will also receive a Distinguished Achievement Award at the ceremony. Also receiving Distinguished Achievement Awards will be alumnus and businessman Robert B. Brack of Milford, Mass., and Aaron D. Spencer, founder, director and chairman emeritus of UNO Chicago Grill pizzerias. UMass President Jack Wilson and Chancellor Holub will offer brief remarks. Graduating senior Jackie Hai will be the student speaker. Students from more than 40 countries will carry their national flags into the stadium as part of the ceremony.

Thirteen members of the graduating class will be honored as 21st Century Leaders. Kyle Johnson, a member of Commonwealth College and a management and economics major, will be recognized as the 2009 graduating Jack Welch Scholar.

Immediately following the Commencement ceremony, Chancellor Holub will host the university cookout under the tents north of the stadium with a section designated for each school and college. All graduating seniors and guests are invited to attend.

Editor’s note: Press passes are required for reporters and photographers to gain access to the field at McGuirk Stadium for coverage of the Undergraduate Commencement on May 23. Contact the Office of News and Media Relations at 413/545-0444 to obtain a pass.