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Boston Mayor Michelle Wu encourages UMass Boston grads to think about what’s possible

University awards degrees to 4,013 graduates

Mayor of Boston Michelle Wu called on the class of 2022 to embrace the radicalism of possibility in his keynote address at the start of the UMass Boston undergraduate at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center Friday morning.

“There will always, always be those who will try to tell you what is impossible. Which is dangerous, drastic and impractical, which cannot be done because it has never been done before,” she said.

“But right now we need too urgent a change not to try.”

As she began her speech, Mayor Wu looked out over the sea of ​​10,000 graduates, family members and friends in attendance, and highlighted what she called an “incredible transformation”.

“[UMass Boston] has grown from Boston’s best-kept secret to a public research university that remains committed to its community, while being renowned across the country,” she said. “Today, UMass Boston is New England’s most diverse public university…. Each new class of graduates has broadened the horizons of possibility, opening doors and widening paths for those who follow in their footsteps.”

This year’s graduates come from over 110 countries around the world and speak 100 different languages. More than 50% of UMass Boston students are first-generation students. There were 120 veterans and military graduates this year.

Chancellor Marcelo Suarez-Orozco presented Mayor Wu with a Chancellor’s Medal for Exemplary Service during the ceremony. Wu, the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, is the first woman and person of color elected to lead the city of Boston as mayor.

“We are here in the cradle of America and our democracy. But, until six months ago, in our city’s nearly 400-year history, we had never elected a person of color, a woman or a mother as mayor,” he said. she declared. “When I first ran ten years ago, I was told over and over again that it would be impossible because Boston was not used to electing women or people of color or people. young people or people who were not born in Boston. And it was true. But because all of those obstacles were things I couldn’t change about myself, and because I felt the urge to change systems that weren’t working, I ran anyway and won.

This year, UMass Boston conferred 4013 degrees (2,815 undergraduate; 1,062 graduate; 136 doctorate). The university held two debuts in one day – with an undergraduate ceremony kicking off the festivities in the morning and graduating students later in the afternoon. The university also held a doctoral hood ceremony the day before.

Chancellor Suárez-Orozco presided over the ceremony, applauding the remarkable achievements of this year’s class.

He said each member of the Class of 2022 has something unique to give – a skill, social-emotional sensitivity or knowledge that cracks the code on the issues of the day and therefore serves us all.

“One of the most meritorious outcomes of a college education is finding that thing you love doing so much that the sun doesn’t rise fast enough – and in doing so, becoming an irresistible force for good. I bet most of you in the class of 2022 are on that path,” he said.

Back-to-school students

Chancellor Suárez-Orozco called on graduates to be civil, explaining that civility – citizens relating to each other in pursuit of the common good – involves listening, appreciating differences and demonstrate mutual respect and goodwill.

“To meet the challenges of our time, civility is essential,” he said. “Attacking knowledge prepares you to be citizens not spectators and who not To raise hands. On the contrary, your education has liberated your civility and secured your place in the arena of ideas and consequent progress.

“At UMass Boston, there is an embarrassment of wealth in this regard. And the world needs more, more of the civility that our students, faculty, and alumni provide.

Administrator of UMass Mary burns praised the students’ determination and discipline.

“You, the class of 2022, have worked hard to get to where you are today: you committed to an important goal and you achieved it. Many of you have done it while working, taking care of family responsibilities , doing community service and, let’s not forget, the COVID pandemic, which has unexpectedly disrupted all of our lives for the past two years,” she said.

Student speakers share their experiences and offer advice to their classmates

MG Xiong, a major in Philosophy and Public Policy with minors in Spanish Language and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, received this year’s John F. Kennedy Award and served as an undergraduate lecturer. Xiong, originally from Alaska, will join the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition as a program manager after graduation and will pursue a doctorate in inclusive education.

MG Xiong

“As a first generation college student like many of you, as a Hmong, transgender Bostonian from Alaska, as a Beacon, I am honored and privileged to be here today to congratulate you all, each of you,” they said.

Xiong encouraged fellow graduates to be “savagely grateful.”

“To love without reserve. Say thank you. Sit in your gratitude. You possess the unlimited power to show kindness to others and to be a producer of joy. So be generous. Hold each other accountable for this commitment to love,” they said. “Make sure that wherever you are, as long as you are there, there will be no shortage of love or lack of dignity. Love exists inside of you. And so it exists in our community Because you exist in our community.

Courtney Humphries, who was the student speaker at the graduation ceremony, was a journalist specializing in science and urban issues before coming to UMass Boston to earn her doctorate in environmental science. Her thesis focuses on the past, present and future of Boston’s waterfront, how the city is preparing to deal with rising sea levels and the daunting risks that come with it.

“UMass Boston is the perfect place to do this kind of work,” Humphries said. “More than any other university or college in the region, it is rooted in its community, in this city and in this region. We can and must strive for world-class research and education, but we must also recognize that our strength comes from the quality of these local connections.

She urged her classmates to think of their careers as a tree. Although they can reach higher and stretch in different directions, they must be rooted in something bigger than themselves, she explained.

“In doing our work, we create new relationships, we strengthen existing ones, we develop new branches, and together and each in our own way, we help create the soil on which the work of others will grow,” said she declared. “So as we come out of our graduate experience, let’s think about the larger landscape that we hope to be a part of and to which we hope to contribute, … and connect with each other and develop the landscape that we want to see in the future. ‘coming.”

Standout Faculty with Academic Distinction, Honorary Degree Recipients

Three faculty members received the 2022 Chancellor’s Awards at the graduation ceremony: Professor of Psychology Laurel WainwrightAssociate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Associate Professor of French Pratima Prasadand teacher Mark Warren of the Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs for their distinguished teaching, service and scholarship, respectively.

The university also celebrated the 2021 Chancellor’s Award winners: Professor of Physics Christopher Fuchsassociate professor of molecular ecotoxicology Helen Poyntonand professors of African studies Tony Van der Meer and keith jones for their scholarship, teaching and distinguished service, respectively.

The Chancellor’s Awards for Scholarship, Teaching and Distinguished Service celebrate faculty excellence by recognizing the achievements of members who have demonstrated outstanding contributions in one of the three main areas of faculty responsibility. professorial.

Chancellor Suárez-Orozco presented three honorary degrees to exemplary leaders whose lives and work inspire the UMass Boston community during a doctorate ceremony Thursday. sisters Marie-Marguerite B. Clerie and Guylene B. Sales were individually recognized as advocates for education and human rights and as co-founders of the Devoir de Mémoire Foundation, which was created in honor of their father who was executed by the Duvalier regime in Haiti. Robert Hildreth is a passionate advocate for access to higher education and has been honored for his grassroots work helping disadvantaged students navigate the college readiness process. A leader in social and environmental justice issues impacting the health of the people of the island of Vieques, Robert L. Rabin Siegal was honored in November 2021 before his passing earlier this year.