Contact:
Katy Abel, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education
617-994-6932 (office) or 617-429-2026 (cell)
kabel@bhe.mass.edu

For Immediate Release
May 1, 2014

4th Annual “29 Who Shine” Awards Kick Off 2014 Commencement Season

Governor Patrick, Education Leaders, Media Publishers to Honor Community College, State University and UMass Graduates for Contributions to the Commonwealth

BOSTON —The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education has announced the Class of 2014 winners of the 29 Who Shine awards, the Commonwealth’s annual ceremony honoring one graduate from each community college, state university and University of Massachusetts campus for their academic achievements and civic contributions to the Commonwealth. Profiles, including home towns and student photos, are available here.

Among this year’s honorees who will attend the State House awards ceremony at 12 noon on May 8th are student veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, students who achieved academic honors despite becoming homeless, and students who launched local organizations to combat sexual assault on campus, promote autism awareness, and create lending libraries for students who cannot afford to buy textbooks. The “29” also include graduates who taught computer skills to domestic abuse survivors, conducted medical research to limit the spread of infectious diseases, and volunteered in local nursing homes and schools.

“The 29 Who Shine represent the best and the brightest of our public higher education system,” said Secretary of Education Matthew Malone. “I’m inspired by how these graduates are giving back to their communities and at the same, for many, also working full time to support their families. And even with all they have going on these students achieved high academic honors. These are the types of people who you want as your neighbor and I’m very proud of each of them.”

Each of Massachusetts’ 29 public college and university campuses selected its own honoree for the 29 Who Shine awards based on criteria established by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. Students are required to be residents of Massachusetts who have a strong academic record and a history of civic engagement.

“Our public college and university graduates are ‘here to learn and here to stay,’” said Richard M. Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education. “These outstanding individuals are citizens of the state who plan to build their lives and livelihoods here in Massachusetts. They have delivered a big return on the taxpayers’ investment in their education and we are delighted to honor their achievements.”

The May 8th awards ceremony begins at noon at the Grand Staircase at the Massachusetts State House. The festivities will be attended by campus presidents and UMass chancellors, legislators, students, family members and faculty. Each student honoree has selected a faculty or staff mentor who provided guidance and support throughout the student’s years in college. The faculty will be honored at a celebratory luncheon sponsored by the Massachusetts Teachers Association, following the awards ceremony.

Additionally, publishers of most daily newspapers across the state have donated full or half-page advertisements to honor the students as a group on May 8. Supporters of the 29 Who Shine Publishers Campaign include The Boston Globe, GateHouse Media New England, Springfield Republican, Lowell Sun, Fitchburg Sentinel and Enterprise, and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.