Rain or shine, the 2018 UMass Dartmouth Commencement activities were a success.
On Saturday, May 12, UMass Dartmouth held its 2018 Commencement ceremonies for undergraduate and graduate students, awarding approximately 2,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield.
“This is your time to seek out and build a better world that is grounded in civility, mutual respect, and humanity. Students, please understand you are part of something bigger than yourself. The world is counting on you,” said Chancellor Robert E. Johnson, who was presiding over his first UMass Dartmouth commencement.
UMass President Marty Meehan told the Class of 2018, “Know that your UMass education has equipped you with the skills, both tangible and intangible, you will need to succeed and to have an impact on this world.”
At the morning graduate ceremony, commencement speaker Keith A. Hovan, President, and CEO of Southcoast Health System, Inc. and Southcoast Hospitals Group, Inc., received the Chancellor’s Medal and addressed students. “Opportunities to learn will present themselves throughout your career. They are a gift. Learn to recognize them and take advantage of them,” said Hovan.
The graduate student speaker was Chioma Judith Okafor (MBA), an advocate for the global empowerment of women and humanitarian services. Okafor is from Festac Town, Lagos, Nigeria and shared her experience with her fellow graduates. “Life can be like a contest; there will always be someone with bigger goals, more talent, more degrees, and more experience than you. But no one else can be you. There is only one you!” she told her classmates.
The afternoon undergraduate ceremony featured Senior Vice President, Marketing Operations, Consumer Products Division for Hasbro Bryony Bouyer, ’86. Bouyer received an honorary doctorate degree and delivered the commencement address. Bouyer urged the newly minted alums to “harvest the energy that comes from fear to do more, to do better, take on that next mountain” and to believe that they “are the most powerful and influential generation ever.”
The undergraduate ceremony student speaker was Andrew Tyrrell (Political Science) of Fall River. Tyrrell was the Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, The Torch, told his peers to, “Care about yourself, care about others. Care, care, care. You’ll be surprised how the simple act of caring can brighten your life.”
On Monday, May 14, UMass Dartmouth held the 2018 Law Commencement ceremony in the Main Auditorium on campus. Nearly 50 law degrees were awarded.
“Your generation can no longer wait, we need you to solve the problems of the present and future to bring about a more just and fair society for all,” said Chancellor Robert E. Johnson. “Remember, the law matters and the truth matters.”
Attorney General Maura Healey was the 2018 Commencement speaker for UMass Law said: “I’ll reveal the real reason I’m here today: I’m here to recruit you. We need your skills, we need your talents, and we need your dedication to upholding people’s rights. So I ask each of you: stay engaged. Even if you don’t work in the public interest – make time for clients and causes that need your help.”
Healey received the Chancellor’s Medal for her tireless work in Massachusetts. Healey was sworn in as Attorney General on January 21, 2015, pledging to lead the People’s Law Firm. Since taking office, Healey has tackled issues touching the lives of residents across Massachusetts including the heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic, escalating health care costs, workers' rights and student loan costs. She has focused on strengthening consumer protections and on improving our criminal justice system.
“In just a few short years, UMass Law has climbed the ranks in terms of bar pass rate and job placement to become a premier destination for law education in New England,” said Dean Eric Mitnick. “The students graduating here today are perfect examples of the civic- and justice-minded individuals the Commonwealth of Massachusetts needs for the future.”
Student Speaker Alicia Blanchard had a request of her peers: “I ask just one thing, always remember why you came to law school, and what was firing your passion. Always remember the mantra that has been repeated so many times during our time here, from Day 1 of Orientation to now - pursue justice.”
Overall, the university awarded more than 1,400 undergraduate, nearly 600 graduate, 50 law, and more than 40 doctorate degrees during its undergraduate, graduate, and law ceremonies.
More about the UMass Dartmouth Class of 2018
- 55% of seniors are first generation.
- 52% of undergraduates lived in dorms while 48% commuted or took courses online.
- Graduates came from more than 30 countries, 28 states, and 267 Massachusetts communities.
- The average age of graduating undergraduate students was 24.6, graduate students was 30.5, and law was 29.2.
- Male graduates made up 50.3% of the class of 2018, while 49.7% of the class were females.
- Students of color made up 27% of this year’s graduating class.
- The undergraduate class includes 213 engineers, 115 nurses, 98 psychology majors, 74 artists and musicians, and 73 accountants.