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Commencement Eve Gala Recognizes Honored Guests
And Student Award Winners
LOWELL, Mass. ߞ; UMass Lowell has raised more than $500,000 for student scholarships through its Commencement Eve Gala on Friday, May 28, which will feature National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, authors Doris Kearns Goodwin and Richard Goodwin, as well as other honorees and student award winners.
The gala ߝ set for 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, 50 Warren St., Lowell ߝ includes the introduction of two new opportunities for donors to support scholarships, the Charles E. Goodell Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Doris Kearns Goodwin and Richard N. Goodwin Endowed Scholarship Fund. Donations prior to the event have already topped $500,000 and more are expected. Last year’s gala raised $300,000.
“We are grateful for the generous support of student scholarships by so many people from the community and beyond,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan. “Providing scholarships, both merit and need-based, is one of the most important ways we can help our students meet the challenge of paying for their college education.”
In addition to supporting scholarships, the third annual gala provides an opportunity for members of the university community and the public to hear from the honorary degree recipients, Distinguished Alumni Award winner and Commencement speaker, as well as recognize students’ outstanding academic achievement and service. Roger Goodell, who will deliver the Commencement address to the Class of 2010, will attend the gala with his four brothers and deliver remarks. Their father, the late U.S. Sen. Charles Goodell, will be honored at UMass Lowell’s Commencement on Saturday, May 29 with a posthumous Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
The gala included honors for some of the best and brightest members of the Class of 2010, including top academic achievers in each school and college, as well as students who have made outstanding contributions in service to the community and the university.
The honor of being selected valedictorian went to Amanda Boutrus of Salem, N.H., who also will receive the Trustees Key, awarded to students who have completed all four years of undergraduate study at the university with a grade point average of 4.0. She is also the recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal for Academic Achievement in the College of Arts and Sciences Division of Sciences.
Among those chosen for an award was Steven Hansen of St. George, Utah, who completed work on his master’s degree in business administration in December. The first online student ever selected for the University Medal for Community Service, Hansen died of a heart attack in April at age 37, just days before he would have learned of the honor. Hansen, who served in the U.S. Air Force during Operation Desert Storm, was chosen for his advocacy work with fellow veterans of all ages, as well as exceptional volunteerism with the arts community and Boy Scouts of America. His parents, Nyle and LaVerne Hansen, traveled to Lowell from Utah to accept Steven’s award at the Commencement Eve Gala.
The Chancellor’s Medals for Academic Achievement will be awarded to the following students: Miriam Drissi of Litchfield, Maine (College of Arts and Sciences’ Division of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences); Rachel E. Wakim of Dracut (College of Engineering); Matthew A. Fleming of Methuen (College of Management); Vivian Sophine Lasnier of Amesbury (School of Health and Environment); William J. Hawksley of Brentwood, N.H. (Division of Continuing Studies, Corporate and Distance Education).
The Chancellor’s Medal for Student Service winners are: Nana Bonsu of Worcester, Molly Clay of Rockport, Eunice Delice of Methuen, David Koffman of Woburn, Theodore Serozynsky of Saugus and Frank Stegnar of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The University Medal for Community Service will be awarded to Danane Chhor of Dracut, Thomas Cole of Tyngsboro, Alayna Mender of Windham, N.H., Nicole Sambursky of Andover and Lindsey Sherman of Hamilton.
The University Scholar-Athlete Award is going to Michael Clem of Charlton.
Prior to the gala, renowned authors and presidential advisers Doris Kearns Goodwin and Richard Goodwin, both of Concord, will present a special event at 4 p.m., “A Conversation with Dick and Doris,” recounting their experiences and signing copies of their books. Former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy II is the moderator.
In addition to Goodell and the Goodwins, speakers at the gala include honorary degree recipients Alan Lightman, physicist, novelist and essayist known for his work linking science and the humanities; Gloria Ladson-Billings, author, researcher and professor of urban education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Distinguished Alumni Award winner Bonnie Comley ’81, renowned Broadway, film and TV producer.
Commencement ceremonies will take place on Saturday, May 29 at 9:30 a.m. at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell. About 2,400 graduates, the highest number in UMass Lowell history, are expected to receive bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.
UMass Lowell, with a national reputation in science, engineering and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success in a diverse world and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region. UML offers its 13,000 students more than 120 degree choices, internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral studies in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education. www.uml.edu.