SPHHS Celebrates Class of 2012

Graduating seniors at the SPHHS Senior Recognition Ceremony

The School of Public Health and Health Sciences held its Senior Recognition Ceremony on Saturday, May 12, 2012 in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. The SPHHS ceremony recognized the undergraduate class of 2012, which this year welcomed over 400 graduating seniors into its ranks.

This year’s ceremony featured a welcome address from Dean C. Marjorie Aelion, who thanked families and friends in attendance for the many years of support they provided the graduates while at UMass Amherst. She also recognized the SPHHS faculty who inspired and educated the graduating students and helped to build a solid foundation for careers in public health and the health sciences. Dean Aelion saved the final tribute for the graduating seniors – thanking them for their countless hours of study and labor, their participation in internships and volunteer efforts, and for the dedicated research and lab work that many of them conducted.

Dean Aelion reinforced the School’s mission – and the common purpose that links the departments within the SPHHS – to improve the health, wellbeing, and quality of life of our fellow men and women. With her closing remarks, she welcomed our graduating seniors into the SPHHS’ growing alumni family.

The ceremony also featured remarks from Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Daniel Gerber, who acknowledged student award recipients and presented the SPHHS Outstanding Teacher Award to Frank Rife, Kinesiology, and the SPHHS Oustanding Online Teacher Award to Carol Bigelow, Public Health. Nutrition Department Head Nancy Cohen, Communication Disorders Department Chair Jane Baran, Public Health Department Chair Edward Stanek, and Kinesiology Department Chair Patty Freedson also addressed their student bodies before awarding the graduation medallions to their respective members of the Class of 2012.

The SPHHS Senior Recognition Ceremony helped cap the UMass Amherst Commencement weekend, which featured over a dozen individual ceremonies recognizing graduates from the individual schools and colleges, including Commonwealth Honors College. In addition, the Graduate School held its ceremony on Friday, May 11. The Graduate School ceremony recognized the students (including many within the SPHHS) who earned advanced graduate degrees from the university. Later that same day, the University held its annual Undergraduate Commencement, which welcomed Ted Koppel as its featured commencement speaker. Mr. Koppel, a renowned journalist and former ABC News’ “Nightline” correspondent, was awarded an honorary degree from the university.