Today UMass Dartmouth celebrated the Class of 2016 at a multi-college combined ceremony of the College of Engineering, College of Nursing, College of Visual & Performing Arts (CVPA), and School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST) at the University's Vietnam Veterans Peace Memorial Amphitheater. The University is celebrating its first graduating class since its ascension to Doctoral Research University earlier this year.
“I believe in your ability solve today’s challenges such as income inequality, intolerance, climate change,” UMass Dartmouth Interim Chancellor Randy Helm said. “As long as you continue to ask tough questions, challenge received wisdom, hone your analytical skills through the clash of ideas, make connections between ancient verities and new insights, you will do just fine – and so will the rest of us.”
NAACP National Board of Directors Chair Roslyn Brock offered the Commencement Address and received an honorary degree at this afternoon’s ceremony. Roslyn M. Brock made history in February 2010 when she was unanimously elected as 14th Chairman of the National Board of Directors for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She is the youngest person and fourth woman to hold this position. In 2005, Brock created the NAACP Leadership 500 Summit. The Summit’s goal is to recruit, train and retain a new generation of civil rights leaders to the NAACP. Brock's leadership skills have been recognized by several national publications and organizations.
“I challenge you to raise your voices in the public square, secure every opportunity along your life’s journey, to safeguard justice, eliminate poverty, encourage education, and protect civility,” Brock said. “You are the power generation and the future of our nation rests in your hands. Courage must not skip this generation.”
Nursing student Bethany Phillips ‘16, of Rowley, Massachusetts offered the student address during the ceremony. Bethany was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honors Society, traveled to Haiti for experiential learning opportunities in Community Health, and completed her honors thesis on recognizing stroke symptoms and risk factors in the community. Her love for older adults sparked her interest in studying aging and health. With the “baby boom” generation reaching the age of 65, Bethany wants to be part of the community of healthcare workers and institutions crafting policies and strategies to meet their rising demands.
“I think of progress as coming together,” Bethany said. “Progress is remarkable when it is the result of unity. Remember you are always a work of progress, but you are also always a work of art. Never stop building – whether you are building upon yourself, building upon a country in need, or building upon your community.”
Earlier today UMass Dartmouth held a commencement ceremony for its Charlton College of Business. More than 1,200 students earned their degrees over each of the two ceremonies held today. Tomorrowat 10 a.m. the University will celebrate its College of Arts & Sciences Class of 2016. This Monday, UMass Law will celebrate its graduating class at the Main Auditorium on UMass Dartmouth’s Main Campus.
The UMass Dartmouth Class of 2016 is made up of 2,086 students, representing 214 Massachusetts communities, 22 states, and 26 countries. The top five communities of UMass Dartmouth's graduating class are New Bedford, Fall River, Dartmouth, Boston, and Taunton. University officials expect to award 32 PhDs and 11 DNPs (Doctor of Nursing Practice). The PhDs include a record number in educational leadership and policy studies, as well as degrees in nursing, biomedical engineering and technology, electrical engineering, and marine sciences and technology.
UMass Dartmouth's 2016 Commencement ceremonies will take place May 13-16. All of the ceremonies, except for the UMass School of Law, will be held in the University's Vietnam Veterans Peace Memorial Amphitheater. For a full schedule and up-to-date info on UMass Dartmouth’s 2016 Commencement, visit www.umassd.edu/commencement. Each Commencement ceremony can be watched via live stream.
UMass Dartmouth was elevated to Doctoral University – Higher Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education following the release of its final 2015 classification in February. The only Bay State research university located south of Boston distinguishes itself as a vibrant public university actively engaged in personalized teaching and innovative research, and acting as an intellectual catalyst for regional economic, social, and cultural development. UMass Dartmouth's mandate to serve its community is realized through countless partnerships, programs, and other outreach efforts to engage the community, and apply its knowledge to help address local issues and empower others to facilitate change for all.