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Press Release: 1,335 receive Bachelor's Degrees at 108th UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Commencement

1,335 receive Bachelor's Degrees at 108th UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Commencement

Former Lost Boy of the Sudan urges classmates to "be yourself and stand tall"; NewsHour journalist Ray Suarez advises "having a good, intact and fully-operational soul is going to get you through times of no money"

Author:  John Hoey
Date:  May 25, 2008
Department:   News & Public Information
UMass Dartmouth today granted bachelor's degrees to 1,335 undergraduates at its 108th Commencement Exercises. Among the graduates was business major Sam Machuor, a "Lost Boy of the Sudan," who endured hunger, ruthless enemies and grueling foot travel in his homeland before coming to the United States to earn citizenship and his degree.

UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack said Mr. Machuor, who is planning to get his MBA, is a powerful example of how all graduates depend in some measure on the support of others. "Like all of our graduates today, Sam benefitted from people who loved him, and people he never met, who were willing to give him a shot at an American dream."

Mr. Machuor said to his classmates, "My message to anyone who is out there, whether you're on top of the mountain or down at the bottom of the sea, a son of a king or a daughter of a village man, never quit! Always be yourself and stand tall. To my class of 2008. Let me tell you this.  There's an old saying in my village that says, 'the future belongs to those who believe in themselves and in the beauty of their dreams'."

Following the national anthem performed by Political Science graduate and Miss Massachusetts Valerie Amaral, Chancellor MacCormack called for a moment of silence for the victims of the recent China and Myanmar and urged the 5,000 audience members to "keep in our thoughts our Senator Ted Kennedy, a true champion of creating educational opportunity for all."

Commencement speaker Ray Suarez, senior correspondent for the NewsHour, advised graduates: "You have been taught about some of the finest thinking that's gone on in this world for thousands of years. That was supposed to make the world a more interesting place to be in. That was nourishment, food for your head, and that was food for your soul. And for the rest of your life, having a good, intact and fully-operational soul is going to get you through times of no money, much better than money can ever get you through times of no soul."

The University awarded honorary degrees to the following individuals:

* New Bedford native and Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs and wife Joan Jacobs, who have been generous supporters of college scholarships for New Bedford students and supporters of numerous other educational and arts-related causes.

* Southcoast Hospitals Group CEO Ronald Goodspeed, who recently co-authored What If ...? A Survival Guide for Physicians, a book intended to help medical students, residents and physicians successfully handle situations traditionally not covered by medical education and training.

* Retired UMass Dartmouth Dean of Students Donald Howard who spent more than 40 years at the university and was instrumental in building student government and leadership structures, student publications, the student judiciary system, student-run activity fee disbursement systems, the theater company, and the lecture series.

The University conferred 377 graduate degrees on Saturday. The  separated the undergraduate and graduate ceremonies this weekend due to rapid enrollment growth.






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