350 UMass Dartmouth graduate students receive advanced degrees

Retired U.S. Surgeon General challenges Class of 2010 to "take your careers global"

Fall River native Julia Plotnick, who rose from St. Anne's School of Nursing to Assistant U.S. Surgeon General and has become global health care advocate, challenged 350 students receiving UMass Dartmouth graduate degrees today to "take your careers global."

"The world is now smaller and more interconnected than ever before," said Plotnick, who has been on the front lines of improving health care in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zaire and Croatia, Romania, and Iraq, and was recently named chair of Health Volunteers Overseas..  "Most indications are that this trend will continue. The challenges of living and working in this global village can be daunting, but the opportnities for personal and professional growth are unparalleled. For those of you who do take your careers global, you have the responsibility to adhere to the highest ethical standards. You will be amabassadors of your country and your university." Plotnick will receive an honorary degree at tomorrow's undergraduate commencement.

Opening the ceremony in the university's Vietnam Veterans Peace Memorial Amphiteater, UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack said, "This is our moment as a university to reflect on how fortunate we are to be here, in a place and among people devoted to learning, discovery, and service;  devoted to getting the most out of our human potential. You know that we face some very daunting challenges. We remain at war. The global financial system is fragile. Natural and man-made disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti and oil spill in the Gulf remind us of our tenuous existence. But don't be discouraged because you are well equipped in spirit and intellect to confront these realities and accelerate the inevitable recovering rhythm of downward cycles."

Jame Richards, a 1995 graduate of the Professional Writing Graduate Program, who has achieved national acclaim as an author of young adult historical fiction with her first novel, Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood, urged the Class of 2010 to, "Keep filling those blank pages of your life with words and images and ideas that you love. Keep revising. Keep creating your art--it's not meant to be perfect; it's meant to be you--ultimately your life is your art. Now get out there and create your masterpiece."

Faculty speaker Chris Papenhausen, who teaches strategic management at the Charlton College of Business, said his research has shown that a collective optimism is a necessary condition for broad-based prosperity to take hold. "A moderately high level of optimism benefits individual outcomes, but less understood is the potential upside in public optimism:  the belief that together we will improve society,'' he said. "There is a time for analysis and anxious deliberation, but in order to build social action, optimism is crucial.  Engineers, planners, and builders require an optimistic spirit to engage one another towards great deeds.  I am optimistic that you are the group to get this job done -- it's up to you build it."

Class of 2010 member Marianne McAuliffe, who received her graduate degree in nursing, recounted her work with the Haitian Health Foundation to reduce the mortality rates among pregnant women and newborns, prasied the nursing program and faculty who gave her the  "right tools as I return to Haiti to do additional workshops for the traditional birth attendants.  As I continue my work, I'd like to thank my professors here who have mentored me to achieve not only my one initial goal but additionally taught me so much more about caring for the community in which we live."  

UMass Dartmouth highlights

UMass Dartmouth has been among the fastest growing universities in New England over the past decade with enrollment growing from 6,900 to 9,300. During the last decade, UMass Dartmouth's research enterprise has tripled to more than $20 million per year.

On February 2, 2010, the University secured approval from the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education to open the Commonwealth's first public law school. 

In 2009, the University established an innovative new School of Education, Public Policy, and Civic Engagement which is focusing its efforts increasing educational attainment levels across the region.

UMass Dartmouth has been named to the President's National Public Service Honor Roll two years in a row.

Four UMass Dartmouth faculty members were recently named Fulbright Scholars, providing them the opportunity to share their knowledge with students in other countries and bring their global perspectives back to UMass Dartmouth.

The University is in the process of a total renovation of the Claire T. Carney Library, and over the last five years has built or renovated housing for 3,000 students.

The University's College of Visual and Performing Arts in downtown New Bedford and Advanced Technology Manufacturing Center in Fall River are cornerstones of the regional economy.

To watch the full graduate commencement video, please visit http://www.umassd.edu/commencement/webcast.cfm


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