Graduation day for thousands of UMass Amherst students

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP/AP) – Thousands of undergraduate students and their parents were at the McGuirk Stadium at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for the 144th Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony.

The ceremony started about around 5:00 p.m. Student speakers and UMass President Robert Caret addressed thousands of seniors.

Governor Deval Patrick was the keynote speaker for Friday night’s night ceremony. He told graduates that addressing climate change and creating a clean energy future will be among their major challenges as good citizens building strong communities.

Patrick urged the 5,500 graduates on Friday to take an interest in things outside themselves. He recalled how people came together after last year’s Boston Marathon bombings, saying “We are, in the end, one community.”

Just before the ceremony, 22News talked to some family members who came to see their children and younger siblings graduate.

Michelle Lemaire, who’s younger brother graduated from UMass, said, “I feel a little older thanI’d like to feel but no, I’m very proud of him and we are all really happy for him on his big day and looking forward to his future success.”

Many students told 22News they will spend this summer looking for a job, and some are waiting to hear back from graduate programs.

Honorary doctoral degrees were presented to retired U.S. Rep. John Olver of Massaschusetts, and New York Times columnist and author Gail Collins. Olver, a former UMass Amherst chemistry professor, represented Massachusetts in Congress from 1991 to 2013. Collins earned a master’s degree in government from UMass Amherst in 1970.

About 1,200 students received master’s and doctoral degrees on Friday morning.

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