Subject: Advance the cause of others, speakers tell 1,500 UMD grads
South Coast Today
Advance the cause of others, speakers tell 1,500 UMD
By Curt Brown
May 24, 2010 12:00 AM
DARTMOUTH - One teacher walks two hours up a mountain road to teach
students. Another packs books on two donkeys and delivers them to the
poor in remote villages.
"These are extraordinary, unknown heroes," East Timor President and
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jose Ramos-Horta told the approximately 1,500
UMass Dartmouth undergraduates who were gathered for the last time as a
class Sunday at the university's 110th commencement exercises.
"You can be one of them," he said. "Your education will be more
meaningful if you use it to do good for somebody else."
Ramos-Horta, who was elected president in 2007 and was shot by rebels in
an assassination attempt on Feb. 11, 2008, outside his home in Dili,
East Timor, was one of three to receive honorary degrees from the
university. The others were: Julia R. Plotnick, a Fall River native,
graduate of St. Anne's Hospital School of Nursing and retired U.S.
assistant surgeon general and chief nurse of the U.S. Public Health
Service; and Gerald Mauretti, a UMD engineering graduate, class of 1965,
and president and founder of EY Technologies in Fall River.
Ramos-Horta described the two teachers from his country as his personal
heroes, and his message about helping others less fortunate was echoed
by other graduation speakers.
"Your education is for you, but not just for you," Chancellor Dr. Jean
F. MacCormack told the graduates.
David J. MacKenzie, executive director of the UMass Building Authority
who was representing UMass President Jack M. Wilson, said the graduates
are entering the world at an exciting time and there is an opportunity
to make a difference.
He reminded this year's class that previous UMass graduates have worked
to improve food supplies and helped to bring health care to third-world
countries, fought for social justice, led companies and served in
elected office. He encouraged the students to follow in their footsteps.
Wilson couldn't attend the commencement because he was at his son's high
Student speakers urged their classmates to be themselves and to push
their personal boundaries in the quest for success.
"Protect yourself from going down a path you don't want to go," Student
Trustee Matthew Hoyt said. "Be true to yourself."
"Life comes down to a few moments and this is one of them," said Brian
Stanton, class president, of the significance of their graduation.
At a time when the country's unemployment rate is 9.9 percent, graduates
interviewed Sunday indicated a wide range of post-graduate plans.
And some who don't have jobs lined up said they will be living with
their parents while they either look for work or save money for graduate
Kelly Boehm, a nursing graduate from Lynn, said her goal is to work in a
psychiatric facility in the South, but first she wants to do some
"I want to go someplace warmer for a while," she said, adding she has
been applying for positions, but is not concerned that she is graduating
without a job.
Marissa Blais, a nursing graduate from Granby, said she starts working
at a cardiac unit at Holyoke Medical Center in mid-July.
John Jameson, a painting graduate from Somerset, said he plans to go to
graduate school and study painting at the New York Academy of Art.
Beyond graduate school, though, he said he hasn't made up his mind about
what he wants to do. "I may teach, but I would also like to get into the
Roger Coughlin, a biomaterials engineering graduate from West
Springfield, said he is applying for jobs with medical device companies,
but has yet to land one.
He isn't concerned about it. "I'm going to enjoy the summer, find a job
and work for a living," he said.
Alyssa Medeiros of Acushnet, who is also a biomaterials engineering
graduate, said she wants to work in research and development for a drug
delivery company, but is also applying to graduate school.
She is currently working at the UMass Advanced Technology Manufacturing
Center in Fall River, and hopes it leads to a job.
Jodi Tucker, a psychology graduate from Worcester, said she has an
interview with a home-based behavioral monitoring company.
Veronica Hanley, a painting graduate from Framingham, said she plans to
move back home, take a break from school, save some money and go to
graduate school in a few years.
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