UMass President advises graduates, "Never give up. Never give in."
UMass Dartmouth awarded 1,589 undergraduate diplomas at its 111th commencement today. UMass President Jack Wilson, concluding his tenure at the helm of the 5-campus system, received the Chancellor's Distinguished Service Medal and delivered the commencement address.
Bio-Mimicry Institute President Janine Benyus, New Bedford Symphony Orchestra Conductor David MacKenzie, and the late Dean of Business Richard Ward were awarded honorary degrees.
Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack told the graduates, "Every generation before you has faced extraordinary crises and used them to create new worlds of possibility. You will as well...We are all counting on you to use your talents, passions, and knowledge to confront and conquer challenges. Your education is a great gift for you--but not just for you. It carries great responsibility to work toward a more peaceful and sustainable planet."
President Wilson, who joined Chancellor MacCormack in advocating for the creation of the UMass School of Law at the Dartmouth campus despite opposition from private law schools, recounted the five-year struggle as a lesson in perseverance. "We never gave in,'' he said. "The students of the Law School never gave in. The leaders of the Law School never gave in, and the leaders of the University never gave in. And so that is my advice to you as you go forward into the world: Never give up. Never give in."
Among the students was Ana-Maria Bell of New Bedford, who earned the honor of addressing her fellow Class of 2011 members and spoke of kindness. "If we can set our minds to anything today, let's decide to make an honest effort, and put the best of ourselves into building our best lives,'' she said. "If we pair this resolve with kindness, anything is possible to us; because ultimately our success always comes down to the people we meet, and how we treat them. If courage is standing strong in the face of what we are unsure of, kindness helps ensure that we don't face whatever it is alone."
The university awarded 600 degrees in the arts and sciences, 511 in business, 186 in engineering, 152 in visual and performing arts, and 140 in nursing.
On Saturday, UMass Dartmouth conferred 483 graduate degrees, including the historic first School of Law degrees. Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick Ireland, who was awarded the Chancellor's Distinguished Service Medal, delivered the commencement address.
The ceremony also featured remarks by student speaker Michaela Bileau from Woonsocket, who earned a master's degree in clinical psychology; and Dean of the School of Marine Science and Technology John Farrington, a double UMass Dartmouth alum, who was also awarded the Chancellor's Medal for Distinguished Service.
The undergraduate/graduate Class of 2011 comprises graduates from 15 countries, 21 states, and 251 Massachusetts communities.