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UMass Medical School awards 253 degrees at 44th Commencement exercises

UMass Medical School Communications

June 04, 2017

UMass Medical School bestowed 253 degrees, including three honorary degrees, at its 44th Commencement exercises on the campus green on Sunday, June 4. Chancellor Michael F. Collins presided over the ceremony, calling the graduates, “a force for good, for progress and for equality and inclusion.”

“You represent the global talent pool, which enriches our campus. No wall could diminish that attraction nor deter aspiring students, trainees and faculty from being welcomed to our singular academic community,” Chancellor Collins said, to loud applause. “Rest assured that the boundaries of our institution shall be safe for those who come here to learn, to innovate, to train and to care.”

See the chancellor's full speech here.


Physician, scientist and academic health leader Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD, delivered the keynote address to graduates of the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Graduate School of Nursing.

“Imagine my soon-to-be-colleagues, that as you engage each person in front of you and think, ‘Based on who is sitting in front of me, what’s possible,’” said Dr. Rice, the first woman to serve as president and dean of Morehouse School of Medicine and a national leader dedicated to the creation and advancement of health equity. “You look at them with no limitations, and you are amazed as they share their story and the resilience it has taken for them to overcome the challenges they endure daily, and as you hear the details of their life, you begin to understand how to extend your medical knowledge to assist them in realizing their optimal level of health and, yes indeed, health equity.”

“As I look at each of you and ask ‘based on who’s sitting in front me, what’s possible,’ the resounding answer is ‘health equity.’ Be the health care and biomedical professionals the nation needs.”

See Dr. Montgomery's full speech here.


Humanitarian and businessman Víctor Grífols and renowned pediatric surgeon and cancer researcher Patricia Donahoe, MD, received honorary degrees, as did Montgomery Rice. GSBS Dean Anthony Carruthers, who is stepping down from his post early next year, was awarded a Chancellor’s Medal.

UMass President Marty Meehan congratulated the graduates. Class of 2017 student speakers included Jessica Long, MD, (School of Medicine), Brian Quattrochi, MD, PhD, (Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences) and Michele Griswold, PhD, MPH, RN, (Graduate School of Nursing). There were 123 doctor of medicine degrees awarded; three master of science in clinical investigation degrees; 46 doctor of philosophy degrees in the biomedical sciences; nine MD/PhDs; and, in nursing, 60 master of science degrees, six PhDs and three doctor of nursing practice degrees.

See a full list of graduates by hometown. 

 Collins told the assembly that UMMS is number one in New England for primary care and in the top 10 percent nationally.


“Total annual research awards have climbed to $280 million and, for the first time, we have joined the top 30 institutions in the nation for NIH funding; we now rank 29th—with almost $150 million in NIH grants—a recognition that heralds the intellect and commitment of our faculty who have made such impressive gains in an era of intense competition and who continue to strive to solve what was once considered unsolvable,” Collins said.

Watch the full 2017 Commencement exercises here (2 hrs., 53 min.).