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Commencement Eve Gala surpasses $3M mark since inception, honors outstanding achievements


UMass Lowell celebrates the achievements of the Class of 2014 and recognizes Honorary Degree Recipients and Distinguished Alumni. From left: Chancellor Marty Meehan ’78, Distinguished Alumni Recipients Jerry ’78 and Joyce ’77 Colella, Honorary Degree Recipient Brian MacCraith ’14 (H), Associate Professor and Moderator Andre Dubus III, Honorary Degree Recipients Joy Tong ’14 (H) and John Pulichino ’67, ’14 (H) and Executive Vice Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney ’75, ’92.

UMass Lowell celebrated the culmination of another successful academic year with the seventh annual “Honoring Excellence” gala, which commemorated outstanding graduates, distinguished alumni and honorary degree recipients. Since its inception in 2008, the event has raised more than $3.1 million for student scholarships.

The gala provided the University community with an opportunity to hear from graduate keynote speaker and 2014 honorary degree recipient Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It also included a conversation with honorary degree recipients and distinguished alumni, moderated by Andre Dubus III, best-selling author and professor in UMass Lowell’s English Department. The event was held at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center.

"On Commencement Eve, we celebrate the accomplishments of our students, alumni and friends of UMass Lowell while supporting the programs that have helped our graduating seniors reach this point," says Chancellor Marty Meehan. "It is our priority to continue to build our scholarship funds to help more students reach graduation and to go on to use their high-quality UMass Lowell education to achieve personal and professional success."

Honorary degree recipients include Brian MacCraith, president of Dublin City University (DCU) in Ireland; Mary McAleese former president of Ireland (who received her degree during a visit to campus in November); John Pulichino ’67, CEO of Group III International Ltd. and his wife Joy Tong, president and creative director of Group III International Ltd. This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients were Gerald Colella ’78, president and CEO of MKS Instruments Inc. and his wife Joyce Colella ’77, retired elementary school teacher.

Koh previously served as the Harvey V. Fineberg Professor of the Practice of Public Health and associate dean for Public Health Practice at the Harvard School of Public Health. Com¬missioner of public health of Massachusetts from 1997 to 2003, the Yale graduate chaired the Massachusetts Coalition for a Healthy Future, received the 2012 Champion Award from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and was named by the New England Division of the American Cancer Society as “one of the most influential persons in the fight against tobacco during the last 25 years.

MacCraith has been president of Dublin City University in Ireland since 2010, where he has played an active role in teaching physics and research in biomedical diagnostics and nanobiophotonics. MacCraith is renowned internationally in the areas of optical chemical sensors and bio¬sensors. After his time as a visiting scientist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., working on Biowarfare Detection at the Centre for Biomolecular Science and Engineering, MacCraith became founding director of the National Centre for Sensor Research at Dublin City.

McAleese served two terms as president of Ireland, from 1997 through 2011, and was the first person born in Northern Ireland to hold that office. After earning a law degree at Queens University Belfast, she worked as a barrister, and later served as Reid Professor of Criminal Law at Trinity College Dublin. She has also served as the first female pro-vice chancellor of Queen’s University of Belfast and as an experienced broadcaster and journalist for Radio Telefís Éireann. Her tenure as president of the Republic of Ireland, deemed “Building Bridges,” was notable for the attention she gave to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

John Pulichino ’67 is the CEO of Group III International Ltd., an industry leader in travel gear products. The company was founded by his wife, Joy Tong, who is now the company’s president and creative director. He and Tong established the Pulichino/Tong Family Foundation scholarship fund for students attending the Manning School of Business. In recognition of their generosity, the University is naming its new business school building in their honor. Pulichino has provided leadership on several University committees and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2012. He graduated from Lowell Technological Institute with a degree in industrial management and then earned a master’s degree in engineering management from Northeastern University.

Gerald Colella ’78 is CEO and president of MKS Instruments Inc., an innovative manufacturing processes solutions leader. His wife, Joyce Colella ’77, was an elementary school teacher before retiring. Both have provided leadership on University committees and have generously given to the Manning School of Business and other funds. In 2010, Gerald Colella was recognized with the Francis Cabot Lowell Alumni Award for business. After receiving his degree in secondary education from the University of Lowell, he earned his master’s in business administration from Southern New Hampshire University. Joyce Colella received a degree in elementary education in 1977 from the University of Lowell and then a master’s in education from Fitchburg State University.


 
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