UMass Amherst Will Graduate 5,500 at May 10 Commencement with Address by Kenneth Chenault, American Express chairman, CEO

AMHERST, Mass. – Undergraduate Commencement at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Friday, May 10 will feature a keynote address by Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and CEO of American Express. He will speak to 5,500 graduating seniors at McGuirk Alumni Stadium where friends, family and alumni will gather to take part in a full day’s schedule of commencement observances. The ceremony runs from 5-6:30 p.m.
Chenault will also receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the undergraduate ceremony.Chenault joined American Express in 1981 and became president and chief operating officer in 1997. He assumed his current responsibilities as CEO in 2001, and later that year became chairman.
In addition to the undergraduate ceremony, Graduate Commencement will be held Friday, May 10 at 9 a.m. in the Mullins Center. The Stockbridge School will hold its commencement on Saturday, May 11 at 10 a.m. in Bowker Auditorium
The university will also honor Hank J. Porten, with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Graduate Commencement. Porten had been president and CEO of the Holyoke Medical Center, Inc., and its parent company Valley Health Systems, Inc., since 1985. He was previously the executive vice president of Hackley Hospital in Michigan and prior to that was a senior manager at Humana, Inc., a national healthcare for-profit corporation. A Holyoke resident, Porten has served as a volunteer on the Economic Council of Western Massachusetts, the Regional Employment Board, the Holy Cross Parish Finance Committee, and the Holyoke Long-Range Planning and Master Plan committees.
At the Undergraduate Commencement alumnus Charles F. Perrell, investor and principal, Perrell Ventures, will receive a Distinguished Achievement Award. This award recognizes high accomplishment in a given field or profession and notable contributions to society.
Perrell earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and an MBA from UMass Amherst. He is a retired technology executive who in 1992 co-founded Network Appliance Inc., a data management and storage provider. Previously, he launched international sales at MIPS Computers and Sun Microsystems. Perrell worked in managerial positions for Digital Equipment Corp. and before that worked at Texas Instruments. In 2000, Perrell was named Alumnus of the Year by the UMass Amherst College of Engineering and the civil and environmental engineering Perrell Computing Laboratory is named in his honor.
The student speaker at Undergraduate Commencement will be graduating senior Adam E. Schultz of Sudbury, Mass., a hospitality and tourism major. Following graduation Schultz plans to explore other parts of the country and pursue a career in restaurant management.
Eleven members of the graduating class will be honored as 21stCentury Leaders at Undergraduate Commencement. Four students will be recognized for their leadership and executive ability as Jack Welch Scholars.
At the Graduate Commencement Ceremony 1,200 candidates will receive master’s and doctoral degrees.
The Stockbridge Commencement Ceremony takes place on Saturday, May 11 where approximately 100 candidates will receive associate of science degrees.
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