On Friday, May 12 thousands gathered in the sunshine at McGuirk Stadium on the campus of UMass Amherst to celebrate the UMass Amherst graduating class of 2017. The keynote speech was delivered by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren who inspired and challenged students to get more engaged in and take action on issues they care about. "So regardless of who you are politically or who you vote for, you have to think hard about what really matters to you," she said. "You've got to figure out what makes your heart flutter and your stomach clinch."
Among those graduating this year are over 300 University Without Walls students- adults with work, family, community and military responsibilities who completed their bachelor's degrees by combining previous credits, credits earned for experience, and new coursework taken 100% online, blended or on-campus through UMass Amherst.
At the ceremony, the UWW faculty, per tradition, broke with the other UMass Amherst faculty who sat on the covered stage, and sat with and gave a standing ovacation to their UWW student advisees.
The next morning, the UMass Amherst Campus Center Auditorium was packed with family, friends, parents, grandparents, siblings, babies, kids, and adult children for the UWW Senior Recognition Ceremony.
Students and families traveled to this ceremony from a dozen states and from as far away as Saudi Arabia. Our Graduate Highlights video captured the magic of the event. Emceed by UWW faculty member Dr. Cynthia Suopis, the event featured three student speakers- 70 year old Pam Pelton of New Hampshire, 40 year old Sean O'Connor of Georgia by way of Medford, MA, and 51year old Liz Febres-Jimerson from Puerto Rico who lives with her family in Springfield, MA.
2016 UWW alumnus Cynthia Hester from the Friends of UWW alumni association spoke about the importance of supporting scholarships and staying connected to UMass Amherst. Each graduate walked across the stage and received a commencement medal from Director Ingrid Bracey.