2018 Commencements Set for Undergraduates, Graduates and Stockbridge School

UMass Amherst will award more than 7,400 degrees at Undergraduate, Graduate and Stockbridge School of Agriculture Commencements on Friday, May 11, and Saturday, May 12.

CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper will be the featured speaker at the 148th Undergraduate Commencement on May 11 at 4:30 p.m. at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.

Tapper and Pearl Harbor veteran Leonard Gardner will be awarded honorary degrees during the ceremony for approximately 5,500 who are graduating.

The student speaker will be Tenzin Dawa Thargay of West Roxbury, who is receiving dual degrees in political science and Chinese language and literature and is one of this year’s recipients of the 21st Century Leader Award.  

The Distinguished Achievement Award will be presented to orthopedic surgeon Katherine Coyner, a 2001 graduate and standout Minutewomen basketball player. She is also an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at UConn Health, a team physician for the UConn Huskies and head team doctor for the WNBA Connecticut Sun.

Earlier in the day, more than 1,900 doctoral and master’s students will be awarded their degrees in ceremonies beginning at 9 a.m. at the Mullins Center, where Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy will lead the speakers.

The Stockbridge School of Agriculture will hold its Commencement for 36 graduating students on May 12 at 10 a.m. in Bowker Auditorium, Stockbridge Hall.

Also, 10 members of the graduating class will be honored as 21st Century Leaders at Undergraduate Commencement:

  • Nargis Aslami of Worcester, majored in women, gender, sexuality studies.
  • Shuaib Balogun, a chemical engineering major from Lagos, Nigeria.
  • Nicolas Blaisdell, from Peabody, majored in English.
  • Stephanie Castro, an accounting major from Plainville.
  • Jessica Furtado, from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, a double major in biochemistry and molecular biology and public health.
  • Charlotte LaPlante, a biology and English major from Brookline.
  • Xin Liu, a computer science major from Nanchang, China
  • Caroline Qin of Winchester, a microbiology major.
  • Tenzin Thargay of West Roxbury, political science and Chinese language and literature.
  • Hadiya Williams, a psychology and anthropology major from Mansfield.

Two graduating seniors will be recognized during the commencement ceremony for their leadership and executive ability as Jack Welch Scholars. They are:

  • Enda O’Shea, of West Newton, a finance major who has accepted employment with Ernst & Young in Boston.
  • Lina Wu, of Burlington, a chemical engineering major who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in the field.

To ensure that Undergraduate Commencement is a memorable and enjoyable experience for graduating students and for their guests, the campus will close for regular business operations at noon. Regular building access will resume on Monday, May 14.


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