Five to Receive Honorary Degrees at UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts will confer five honorary degrees at Commencement ceremonies May 25. The event will take place at 10:30 a.m. in Warren P. McGuirk Alumni Stadium. Approximately 4,000 undergraduates are candidates for bachelor''s degrees.

Honorary degree recipients include two UMass alumni, a well-known newspaper columnist, a college president, and a national labor leader. They are:

Boston Globe columnist Mike Barnicle, who will deliver the keynote address, doctor of humane letters;

Chulsu Kim, deputy director-general of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and graduate alumnus of the University, doctor of laws;

University alumnus Paul G. Marks, civic leader and former chancellor for higher education for Massachusetts, doctor of humane letters;

Smith College President Ruth J. Simmons, doctor of humane letters;

AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney, doctor of laws.

Background Information on Honorary Degree Recipients:

Mike Barnicle joined the editorial staff of the Boston Globe in 1973. Prior to that, Barnicle, a graduate of Boston University, worked as a speech writer for the presidential campaigns of Robert Kennedy, Edmund Muskie, and George McGovern, as well as the U.S. Senate campaign of John Tunney in California. He also served as a special assistant to former New York City Mayor John Lindsay. A strong proponent of public education, Barnicle uses his regular column in the Globe to record his observations on local, state, and national politics, as well as the social landscape.

Chulsu Kim received master''s and doctorate degrees in political science from UMass after earning a bachelor''s degree at Tufts University in 1964. Following his return to South Korea in 1973, Kim began his career as a government official whose principal concern was international trade policies. As assistant minister for trade and industry (1984-90), he served as Korea''s chief trade negotiator, spending four years working on the GATT Uruguay Round. In 1990, Kim was appointed commissioner of the Korean Industrial Property Office and the following year, president of the Korea Trade Promotion Corporation. In 1993 President Kim Young Sam named him minister of trade, industry and energy. Late in 1994, he was named ambassador for international trade, and in 1995, he was appointed deputy director-general of the World Trade Organization.

Paul G. Marks, former chancellor of higher education for Massachusetts (1991-92) and former UMass trustee (1976-82), received his bachelor''s degree from the University in 1957 and a master''s degree in art education from Massachusetts College of Art in 1975. He was president of Concept Industries, a trade show and exposition services company, from 1965 until he sold the company in 1984. In 1973, Marks helped to found the Danforth Museum of Art in Framingham and from 1983-86 he served on the board of directors of the Whistler House Museum in Lowell. He has edited or authored five books, plus catalogs and articles about the work of James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Marks has served on numerous state education boards or commissions including the Massachusetts State College Building Authority, the UMass Building Authority, and the Massachusetts Board of Regents. He has also served as president of the UMass Foundation and the UMass Alumni Association.

Ruth J. Simmons was named president of Smith College in 1995. She received her bachelor''s degree from Dillard University and her master''s and doctoral degrees in romance languages from Harvard University. She joined the faculty at the University of New Orleans in 1973, served as a coordinator for a National Endowment in the Humanities project at California State University, Northridge in 1977-78, and was assistant dean, then dean of the Graduate School at the University of Southern California from 1979-83. In 1983, she began a 12-year tenure at Princeton University, where she served in a number of administrative positions. During that period, she also spent a year as provost at Spellman College in Atlanta. Simmons has served on the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and has been awarded a Danforth Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship, and the Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.

John J. Sweeney was elected president of the AFL-CIO in 1995. At the time of his election, Sweeney was serving his fourth term as president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which grew from 625,000 to 1.1 million members under his leadership. He also was vice president of the AFL-CIO and chair of several executive council committees. Sweeney''s first job in the labor movement was with the International Ladies'' Garment Workers Union. He began his SEIU career in 1961 when he joined Local 32B in New York City. During the 1970s Sweeney led two citywide strikes by apartment maintenance workers. In 1976, he became president of the local and was elected SEIU president in 1980. Sweeney is currently chairman of the UMass Labor Relations and Research Center''s advisory board for the distance learning master''s degree program in union leadership and administration. The author of the recent book "America Needs A Raise, Fighting for Economic Security and Social Justice," Sweeney is a graduate of Iona College.