University of Massachusetts Medical School Awards Degrees at Commencement Ceremony

June 3, 2001

WORCESTER, Mass.-The University of Massachusetts Medical School, comprised of the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the Graduate School of Nursing, awarded 143 degrees at its twenty-eighth commencement exercises held today at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. In addition to three honorary awards, Chancellor Aaron Lazare, MD, presented 94 doctor of medicine degrees, including one MD/PhD; 20 doctor of philosophy degrees; and, in nursing, 17 master of science degrees, six post-master's certificates and three doctorate degrees in conjunction with UMass Amherst.

The commencement address was delivered by Christine K. Cassel, MD, MACP, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Cassel is Chair of The Henry L. Schwartz Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development and professor of geriatrics and internal medicine. In addition to her role as an academic clinician, she is noted for her commitment to public service, particularly her work in various capacities with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences. In 1999, as a member of the IOM Committee on Quality of Health Care in America, Dr. Cassel and her colleagues compiled the nationally recognized report titled "To Err is Human," which found that medical errors are the eighth leading cause of death in the United States.

Following receipt of her bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and one year of pre-medical education at Boston University, Dr. Cassel worked as a research assistant at UMass Medical School before earning her medical degree in 1976. She completed her internship and residency at Children's Hospital of San Francisco and fellowships at both the University of California at San Francisco and the University and Veterans Administration Medical Center in Portland, Oregon.

Dr. Cassel served as chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine and as president of the American College of Physicians, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Society of Health and Human Values. She has also authored over 100 articles in prestigious journals and written three textbooks on geriatric medicine, healthy aging and improving quality of care at the end of life.

In addition to presenting Dr. Cassel with an award for distinguished achievement, UMMS awarded honorary degrees to John F. Blais, Jr., and V. Craig Jordan, PhD, DSc, each of whom has made an indelible mark on cancer research. Mr. Blais, a retired entrepreneur, has not only personally pledged $5 million to help find a cure for pediatric cancer "in his lifetime," but is also applying his tenacity and engineer's approach toward problem solving to help identify other benefactors who can share in his quest.

Mr. Blais was born in Burlington, Massachusetts, and studied mechanical engineering at Northeastern University. He is a leader in community business endeavors, having served in a number of managerial positions throughout his 40-year career and established, both on his own and with partners, several instrumentation and optics firms. In 1998, he co-founded NetOptix of Natick, which quickly became the leader in the rapidly growing field of multilayer infrared optical interference filters. As a result, NetOptix was purchased by Corning, Inc. in May 2000 and now employs more than 2,000 people. Most recently, he founded Blais Co., a holding company that presently owns four businesses, and is an active partner in a worldwide management consulting firm located in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Worcester Foundation Trustee V. Craig Jordan, PhD, DSc, is internationally renowned for his research into the anti-estrogen effects of Tamoxifen, hailed as one of the most significant therapies in the last 20 years for the treatment of breast cancer. Dr. Jordan is the Diana, Princess of Wales Professor of Cancer Research, director of the Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Research Program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, and professor of cancer pharmacology and biological chemistry at Northwestern University Medical School.

Following receipt of his PhD from the University of Leeds, Dr. Jordan spent two years at the former Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, now the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research, completing early investigation into the effects of Tamoxifen. He has received numerous national and international awards for his scientific contributions in cancer research, including the 24th Annual Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Research, presented in April of this year. In 1997, Dr. Jordan was named the Laureate of the Sixth Cino del Duca Award for Oncology in Paris and, in 2000, he was selected as one of the 100 cancer researchers from throughout the world to sign the "Charter of Paris" to cure cancer.

University of Massachusetts President William M. Bulger assisted in the awarding of degrees. In addition, five faculty members enjoyed the unusual honor of awarding degrees to their children. Typically, the Medical School graduates one or two children of faculty every few years. "This is very unusual, said Mai-Lan Rogoff, MD, associate dean for Student Affairs. "It's a great statement about how the faculty regard the school, that they want their own children to come here."

The graduate-faculty pairs are:

  • Katherine A. Bazemore, MD, who will be serving her residency at UMass Memorial Medical Center in emergency medicine and is the daughter of Patricia H. Bazemore, MD (Yale, 1966), associate professor of family medicine & community health, pediatrics and psychiatry;
  • Sarah L. Bonkovsky, MD, who will be serving her residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in internal medicine and is the daughter of Herbert L. Bonkovsky, MD (Case Western Reserve, 1967), professor of medicine and biochemistry & molecular pharmacology and pathology;
  • Elizabeth M. Gittinger, who will be serving her residency at Boston University Medical Center in obstetrics & gynecology and is the daughter of John W. Gittinger Jr., MD (Harvard, 1971), professor of surgery and neurology;
  • School of Medicine Class Speaker Randall S. Pellish, MD, who will be serving his residency at Brown University Medical Center in internal medicine and is the son of Larry J. Pellish, MD (New York University, 1972), assistant professor of medicine;
  • Peter C. Smith, who will be serving his residency at Boston University Medical Center in primary care medicine and is the son of Edward H. Smith, MD (SUNY Downstate, 1960), professor and chair of radiology and professor of surgery.

In addition to Pellish, of Pittsfield, representing their schools as class speakers were Lisa R. Kaufman, of Mendon (Graduate School of Nursing); and Nicole E. Faulkner, of Worcester (Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences). Degrees were awarded to the following (listed by hometown):

School of Medicine: Doctor of Medicine

AMHERST: John Ross Crawford
Marc Angelo Mancuso
ARLINGTON: Suzanne Elizabeth Duval
BELLINGHAM: Kerri Lynn Fedorchak
BEVERLY: Benjamin John Conway
BOSTON: Linda Gifford DeGeus
Peter Richard Hurlbut
Elisabeth G. Richard
Dengda Tang
BRAINTREE: Matthew Charles Lally
BRIGHTON: John Joseph Reap
Heather Nadine Schwemm
BROCKTON: Daniel Kenneth Finger
BROOKLINE: Kathryn Mehegan
Ouanza Adiki Puplampu
CAMBRIDGE: Brian Scott Ash
Heather Lynn Marks
Elizabeth Jeanne Rourke
Richard Stanley Van Rhoads
Laura Treye Weissman
Sabrina Maria Witherby
CANTON: Patricia Elaine Stewart
CHESTNUT HILL: Elyssa Ann Aronson
Elizabeth Mara Gittinger
Peter Chantler Smith
COHASSET: Carole Jeanne Smith
DEDHAM: Heather Champoux Killie
FRAMINGHAM: Brian Saul Levitt
Anatoly Michael Sukharsky
Gilberto Sustache
FRANKLIN: Matthew James Velsmid
GRAFTON: Marc Stephen McDermott
GREAT BARRINGTON: Ronald Reid Durbin
HADLEY: James Allen Fitch
HARVARD: Sarah Louise Bonkovsky
HOLDEN: Heidi Elizabeth Huggett
HUNTSVILLE: Marybeth Fitzgerald
LAWRENCE: Garrett James Bomba
LEOMINSTER: Brian David Moquin
LONGMEADOW: Julie Anne Anderson
Christopher George Sakellis
MALDEN: Cindy Lehue Luu
MANCHESTER: Timothy Michael Smith
MANSFIELD: Brian Bhupendra Patel
MEDFORD: Philip Ross Burke
Joseph Peppe
MONTAGUE: Kathleen Marie McGraw
NEWTON: Leo Reuben Spector
Jacqueline Ann Swan
NORTHBOROUGH: Irfan Ahsan Khan
NORTHAMPTON: Bonnie Frances Cohen
Miguel Angel Rodriguez
NORTH ANDOVER: Dawn Marie Peters
NORTH DARTMOUTH: Lenna Fellouris Finger
NORTH SCITUTATE: Sarah Ann McSweeney
PITTSFIELD: Randall Scott Pellish
Benjamin Canfield Ryan
RANDOLPH: Yonatan M. Weiss
REHOBOTH: Matthew Stephen Braga
RICHMOND: David Pomeroy Mason
ROSLINDALE: Stacey Marie Breen
Pamela Kathern Gonzalez
SCITUTATE: Thomas Stacey Monahan
SEEKONK: Scott Patrick Corkins
Edward Martin Tumavicus
SHERBORN: Madeleine Ruth Carey
SOMERVILLE: Douglas Frank Marks
Jenny Huiling Yan
SOUTH EASTON: William Francis Pearson
SOUTH YARMOUTH: Michael David Beland
STOCKBRIDGE: Laura Michele Conklin
SWAMPSCOTT: William Joseph McCarran
UXBRIDGE: Elizabeth Ann Karagosian
WALTHAM: Jennifer Marie Aucoin
Eric John Nelson
WATERTOWN: Jana Rachelle Miller
Raphael Toutounjian
WELLESLEY: Marni Alexandra Silverstein
WEST BARNSTABLE: Tracy Leigh Challies
Amber Susan Crowley
Bradford Clark Sampson
WESTBOROUGH: Dennis Dean Coughlin
WESTON: Andre Biuckians
Karen Conway
WESTWOOD: Gregory Piazza
WINCHESTER: Mark Timothy Villa
WORCESTER: Annemarie Marcelleale Armani
Katherine Anne Bazemore
Teri Lee Brehio
Andrew John Fletcher
Michael Jay Waxman
Teresa Sue Wright

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Doctor of Philosophy

ALLSTON: Ching-Hung Shen
BROOKLINE: Neal Iwakoshi
Joan F. Flanagan
Christopher J. Leo
Tamalette Loh
LEICESTER: Stanley J. Stachelek
LONGMEADOW: Vicki M. Giuggio
MANSFIELD: Thomas Knott
NORTH GRAFTON: Christopher M. Schonoff
SOUTH BARRE: Andrea Maria Femino
WORCESTER: Nicole E. Faulkner
Gerard De Zutter
GAINSVILLE, FL: Scott Loiler
INTERLAKEN, NY: Curtis Frank Barrett
LAUREL, MD: Eric Wagar
MANCHESTER, CT: Alan Maderazo
SUNNYVALE, CA: Zhongyuan Zhu

Graduate School of Nursing, Master of Science

FRAMINGHAM: Nicole Renee Macomber
LENOXDALE: Patricia Kent
LEOMINSTER: Cheryl Dawn Carter-Piper
MENDON: Lisa R. Kaufman
MILLIS: Brian Hoell
NORTON: Paul Lavallee
PEMBROKE: Richard Boyajian
RUSSELL: Patricia J. Simonowicz
SHREWSBURY: Dianne E. Carter
SPRINGFIELD: Pamela Elaine Coombs
SUDBURY: Lisa Marie MacDonald
WESTMINSTER: Susan I. Zangarine
WILMINGTON: Jennifer Boucher
WORCESTER: Michelle L. O'Rourke
Suzanne Therese Sullivan

Graduate School of Nursing Post Master's Certificate

CHARLTON: Michelle Harwick
HOLDEN: Joan Marie Dolan
NATICK: Aurelie Cormier
NORTH BROOKFIELD: Carleen Anne McQuaid
PUTNAM: Annette Jakubisin Konicki
STOW: Janet L. Orf

Graduate School of Nursing Doctor of Philosophy

Collaborative Program: UMass Amherst and UMass Worcester

CLINTON: Paulette A. Seymour-Route
GRAFTON: Annemarie Samar
CRANSTON, RI: Cathy E. Boni