Friday, May 22, 2009

UMass Amherst Graduations

Today and tomorrow the Amherst area will be filled with graduating students and their families and friends who will be taking part in the graduation ceremonies and festivities. Today at the Mullins Center, the graduate ceremony will be taking place, at which Master's degrees and PhD degrees will be awarded. My student, Patrick Qiang, will be receiving his doctoral diploma today. He is my 14th PhD student to graduate and he will be accompanied by his wife, many friends, and even his mother-in-law who traveled from China for this big occasion. My PhD students, whose dissertations I chaired, have assumed positions in industry from financial services to high technology and software development; others are now faculty members at universities in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, Tennessee, Illinois, and even in Australia and Canada! Everywhere I go I get compliments on our wonderful students who have received their educations at UMass Amherst.

After the graduate ceremonies, later today, the Isenberg School will be honoring Senior Leaders with a reception in our gorgeous Isenberg School of Management atrium. Two of my Operations Management students, David Bennett and Kyle Johnson, whom I nominated for this award, will be recognized. These two students took my undergraduate Transportation & Logistics class last term and follow in a line of outstanding students that I have had the privilege to teach and to work with. In that class students have done projects as varied and as relevant as: analyzing local bus schedules and routes, addressing bicycle transportation to/from UMass for commuting purposes, studying pedestrian walkways and safety on campus, capturing traffic behavior around the world, including in New Delhi, and improving traffic flow for graduation - we were approached by the then Police Chief at UMass, Ms. Barbara OConnor, for this study; the results were implemented and there were no complaints!

Tomorrow, over 4,000 students will be receiving their undergraduate diplomas from UMass Amherst in ceremonies at McQuirk stadium.

Congratulations to all the most-deserving graduates and thanks to their families and friends for their support!

I end with a link to a commencement speech that I gave a few years back, which brings back many memories.