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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Congrats to Graduates

Congrats to Graduates

Congrats to Graduates

Although May had dismal weather, the month concluded with blue skies, a bright sun, a throng of 2700 joyful graduates filling the cavernous warehousesque Bayside Expo Center for the 2003 UMass Boston Commencement.

After a rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner sung by Christina Devon, Chancellor Jo Ann Gora took her place at the podium and commented on the continuing growth of the UMB. “We now have over 72,000” she said. “All of whom reflect the tremendous quality of a UMass Boston education.” She commended all who helped the graduates along the way to a degree from family and friends to faculty and staff.

UMass president William Bulger was the next to speak and, after a quip about his recent public tussle with Governor Romney, he told a story about John Quincy Adams and his mother Abigail. Bugler wished for the graduates to heed the advise of Mother Adams, who, in a letter to her son, who was experiencing some difficult times, wrote “to stay the course, for tough times forge one’s character.”

Four faculty members were honored at the ceremony Professors John Lutts of the Mathematics department and Timothy Sieber of the Anthropology department received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award. Professor Paul Nestor received the Chancellor’s Award in Scholarship and Professor Ethan Bolker of the Mathematics and Computer Science department was awarded the Chancellor’s Teaching Award. Each professor received a considerable round of applause.

The 2003 John F. Kennedy Award winner was Esther Smith, an Honors Program student with a double major in biology and anthropology. Smith has also been active in community service. She will head to the University of Virginia for medical school, and plans a career that will involve cleaning up the environment or fighting cancer or both.

Smith had visible admiration for her fellow graduates and beamed throughout her speech. However, her voice resonated with determination when she touched upon the current budget crisis. She told the audience to fight the good fight. “We will not see this system [of UMass] neglected or degraded.”

The keynote speaker was Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund. She received the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Service.

Edelman’s speech was marked by tone of gravity, but she challenged the graduates to enter the new century, the new millennium with the goal of changing the world. “We’re living in an incredible moral moment of history,” she said. “What legacies and values will we stand for?”

Edelman then spoke about the current makeup of society and its inadequacies of meeting social needs. “We need to get our priorities straight. Why are we having a tax cut? Instead, let’s save our children.”

On hand to receive honorary degrees were former Boston Bruins hockey player and cancer care advocate Cam Neely and President of the National University of Ireland, Galway Iognaid G. ?. Muircheartaigh. State Senator Jarrett Barrios, a Cambridge Democrat, received the second Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Service.