Due to COVID-19 regulations, the 2020 Ceremony was unfortunately cancelled.
In May 2011, the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education launched “29 Who Shine,” a commencement season awards program to recognize 29 outstanding student graduates from the Commonwealth’s public higher education system. Each honoree from a community college, state university or University of Massachusetts campus is nominated by a faculty or staff member, or by a university awards committee.
Whether furthering their education or entering careers in fields such as education, public policy, health care, creative arts, or engineering, the “29 Who Shine” embody the vibrant future that we all envision for the Commonwealth.
Each year the Governor honors the “29 Who Shine” at an awards ceremony at the Massachusetts State House. Approximately 250 invited guests attend the event, including House and Senate leaders, the Secretary of Education, Commissioner of Higher Education, members of the Board of Higher Education, college presidents, chancellors, business and non-profit leaders, students and their families. Before the ceremony, students’ state senators and state representatives are also invited to present their district honorees with citations and pose for photographs.
The Department of Higher Education joins student honorees in honoring the faculty and staff mentors at a reception immediately following the awards ceremony.
Each year the publishers of many Massachusetts daily newspapers donate full-page color ads to salute the “29 Who Shine.” Most local media also publish profiles of student honorees.