Every day here at MassPolticsProfs.com we discuss politics, government, and policy and what they mean for the commonwealth. So for one day I'm going to brag on a public institution: my school UMass Boston, Boston's great public research university.
The statistical portrait in 2012 UMB showed that our undergraduate students are 42% minority and 56% female. We’ll graduate over 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students this year and they came from over 10c countries. About half will be the first in their family to earn a college degree. We're very proud of that.
Our students may be the most resilient you have ever seen. We teach veterans thriving in an academic environment, others struggling with a different environment or recovering from physical and psychological injuries. I've had students fighting through serious medical issues, and recovering from addictions. More than a few of my students have been on the streets long before their sixteenth birthday. We have a food bank on campus. Almost all UMB students hold down jobs to help them get through school, and quite a few are parents of young or even grown children. Once after I bragged about a 75-year-old Soviet émigré student, a colleague visited me with his 82-year-old Soviet émigré who couldn't get enough of class work. Don't get me started on the wonderful students from Belarus who struggle through years of hardship to get their education. They are outstanding and so are the students from Bosnia, Brazil, Nigeria, Bangladesh -- well there are 101 countries so I have to stop there.
This week my department hosted a senior dinner for political science majors. We had a lot to celebrate. Nick Rizzo, who commanded troops during two tours of Afghanistan with the Marines, got his degree and he’ll start a new job in the Baker administration soon. Nolan O’Brien, our UMass Boston student trustee, completed his Honors Thesis and will go to work for Senator Edward Markey. Luisa Ibner was one of my favorites – she has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and works tirelessly to improve, a student in the best sense of the word. We also honored rising seniors like Phil McLaughlin and Olivia Winship, who will be our 2016 Michael S. Dukakis interns in Public Service.
When I talk to colleagues who teach at some of the elite institutions in the country they sometimes lament how entitled their gifted students seem. Not here. Our students work hard and they couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity to get a good education.
As someone who transferred from another university then dropped out twice before finally getting my undergraduate degree from UMB I'm grateful for the opportunities an education here offers. When you are looking for not a second chance but a third, you need a place like UMB.
So as a faculty member now and a proud graduate, I'm delighted to welcome the class of 2016 into the ranks of our alumni