Today at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 466 graduate students -- including 45 from the Law School, the first Ph.D in Nursing, and the most Ph.Ds in the University's history -- accepted their degrees as part of the 112th Commencement ceremonies.
Dr. Susan K. Avery, president and director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, delivered the graduate Commencement address. Avery encouraged students to respond to the challenges of "our shared future where we'll need all of you as specialists and as educated, concerned citizens to come together and engage in effective -- creative -- problem-solving."
In her last Commencement as Chancellor, Jean F. MacCormack reflected on her successful tenure, saying: "I have cherished every day of the 13 years I have spent here. I will especially miss commencement days like this when higher learning is celebrated. But, I also look forward with great optimism to the accomplishments that I am sure are in the future for each one of you and our University."
Kristina Monteiro '10 '12, of Middleborough, was the graduate student speaker. Before accepting her MA in Psychology, talked about her own experience of the sense of community at UMass Dartmouth: "I had friendships with students in many different majors, and they truly helped me to see my research from unique angles that I would not have thought of...that's the support that enabled us to reach our goals...strong sense of community and incomparable graduate student bond has gotten us through it."
Retired Bristol County Probate and Family Court Judge Elizabeth O'Neill LaStaiti was honored with the Chancellor's Distinguished Service Medal, in recognition of her 23-year career in public service, as well as her extraordinary philanthropic contributions to the SouthCoast.
This year's graduates represented a diverse class, coming from 14 countries, 28 U.S. states and more than 200 cities and towns across the Commonwealth.
The following number of degrees were awarded by college: Engineering: 104; Business: 97; Education/Public Policy/Civic Engagement: 100; Arts and Sciences: 57; Law: 45; Nursing: 27; Visual and Performing Arts: 25; Marine Science: 11; Nursing: 13.
More about Graduate Commencement honorees
Susan K. Avery / Doctor of Science / President and Director, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Susan Avery took office as president and director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 2008. Dr. Avery is the ninth director in the institution's 78-year history, and the first woman to hold the position. As an oceanographic leader with a background in atmospheric research, Avery has used her unique position to underscore the importance of ocean-atmosphere interactions in understanding whole Earth systems. Since taking the helm at WHOI, Avery has delivered Congressional testimony and presentations at scientific conferences such as the American Meteorological Society, the IEEE International Geoscience & Remote Sensing Symposium, the American Geological Union, and the Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO), often directing her comments at the intersection of atmospheric, earth, and ocean science.
Elizabeth O'Neill LaStaiti / Chancellor's Distinguished Service Medal / First Justice of the Bristol County Probate and Family Court (Ret.)
Elizabeth O' Neill LaStaiti retired in 2011 as the First Justice of the Bristol County Probate and Family Court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts following a 23-year career as a judge. Judge LaStaiti is a Trustee of the SouthCoast Health Systems and a former Chairman of the Board of St. Luke's Hospital. She served as President of the Schwartz Center, a children's rehabilitation center and the New Bedford Child and Family Service, and incorporated the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center. In partnership with the the U.S. State Department, the Massachusetts Judges Conference and the Russian American Rule of Law Committee, Judge LaStaiti worked to develop and promote the Rule of Law in Russia, Macedonia, China, Mongolia, and Romania. She served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Southern New England School of Law, which became the University of Massachusetts School of Law-Dartmouth in 2010.