Graduate School Commencement Ceremony Held at UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. - More than half of the eligible 1,300 master’s and doctoral degree candidates at the Graduate School of the University of Massachusetts, plus about 3,500 friends and family members, attended Commencement activities held in the William D. Mullins Memorial Center earlier today.

Graduate Dean Charlena M. Seymour noted that the students were from every corner of the world, lauded them for their perseverance, and said: "The road to a graduate degree is not an easy one."

Calling the graduates the intellectual leaders of the future, she said: "These master’s and doctoral degrees symbolize each person’s best effort and personal best."

University President William M. Bulger and Amherst Chancellor David K. Scott both gave brief addresses. Bulger called 1998 "a great year for a great class to graduate" with great hopes, expectancies, and opportunities. He reminded the graduates that they hold degrees from a great University with great professors, and wished "great good fortune to all."

Scott drew a laugh when he quoted comedian Bob Hope, who, on a similar occasion, said "Don’t go." He drew another laugh and applause when he said he would extend that admonition to: "Don’t go without leaving a forwarding address so that we can track your stellar accomplishments and so you can continue to support us and give us cash."

Scott urged the Graduate School graduates to "defend the House of Intellect, a House that is often under attack these days." He said never before has the blending together of education, research, outreach, and public service been so important.

Three honorary degrees were awarded: architectural historian, writer, and teacher Abbott Lowell Cummings, doctor of humane letters; UMass 1972 Ph.D. alumnus Michael Albert Dirr, a nationally known horticultural teacher, researcher, and writer, doctor of science; and prominent writer, editor, and scholar on African-American history, Darlene Clark Hine, doctor of humane letters.