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Umass Dartmouth Awards 1,506 Degrees At 109th Undergraduate Commencement Exercises

Honorary degrees awarded to director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and New Bedford entrepreneur

UMass Dartmouth awarded 1,506 bachelor's degrees on Sunday during its 109th Undergraduate Commencement ceremony. The event followed Saturday's Graduate Commencement at which 308 master's and doctorate degrees were awarded.

Commencement speaker and honorary degree awardee Sara J. Bloomfield, director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, recounted the story of the late Raphael Lemkin, an attorney of Jewish descent who coined the term genocide. Bloomfield spoke of Lemkin's little known but transformative impact on the way the world community deals with crimes of nations against their own citizens. The text of her speech, as well as the speeches of other participants, will be posted at

New Bedford entrepreneur William Whelan also received an honorary degree at the undergraduate ceremony while architect Grattan Gill, who led the construction of the UMass Dartmouth campus, received an honorary degree and spoke at the May 23 graduate Commencement. Henry Grattan Gill Jr., an architect who played a lead role in the construction of the UMass Dartmouth campus, was granted an honorary degree at Saturday's graduate ceremony.

Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack said, "This is also our moment as a university community to remind ourselves how fortunate we are to be here, in a place and among people devoted to learning... devoted to encouraging and exploring ideas, developing talents and skills, and getting the most out of our human potential. We are all blessed by having the chance to learn from each other."

During the two days, degrees were awarded to students from four countries (United States, China, Germany, India); 19 states (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont); and 276 Massachusetts communities.


Author:  "John Hoey"
Date:  24-May-2009
Department:   News & Public Information

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