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29 Who Shine

Friday, May 4, 2018 2:00 p.m.
Massachusetts State House

“29 Who Shine” recognizes outstanding graduating students from the public higher education system who embody the vibrant future that we all envision for the Commonwealth.



View more photos from the event on Flickr. Credit: Photography by Nikki Cole

Baker-Polito Administration Honors the "29 Who Shine"

Students from State Universities, Community Colleges, and UMass Lauded for their Contributions to the Commonwealth

Boston, MA – May 4, 2018 – Public college and university students chosen as this year’s “29 Who Shine” honorees for their civic leadership and academic achievements were celebrated at the State House today by Governor Charlie Baker, members of the Legislature, and leaders of the state’s higher education system 

The 8th annual “29 Who Shine” awards are presented at the start of each commencement season to one student from each of the Commonwealth’s twenty-nine public campuses, including its 15 community colleges, nine state universities, and five campuses of the University of Massachusetts.

“It is an honor to congratulate these dedicated college students who have worked hard to create their own bright futures and are already contributing a great deal to their communities and the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The annual ‘29 Who Shine’ awards ceremony is a great opportunity to recognize the work of these students and hopefully inspire younger students to strive for similar success.”


The 29 public college and university campuses in the Commonwealth selected the honorees for the “29 Who Shine” awards based on criteria established by the Department of Higher Education. Students are required to be state residents who have strong academic profiles and a record of civic leadership and engagement.

“We are proud to congratulate this year’s honorees for all of the impactful work they are doing on their campuses and in their communities before they even graduate,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “It is a real pleasure to see young people in Massachusetts thinking about how they can make a difference for everyone and we look forward to what the future will bring all of them.”

“This year’s nominees are a diverse and dynamic group of individuals,” said Carlos E. Santiago, Commissioner of Higher Education. “Their commitment to their families, their communities and the Commonwealth, despite such a heavy load of obligations, sets a very high bar for the rest of us.”

Among this year’s student honorees, 14 are graduating with degrees in STEM or healthcare-related fields, 7 are adult students (ages 25+), 14 are first generation students, and 8 are immigrants to the United States. Their ranks include student entrepreneurs who have created non-profits, future teachers who have dedicated hundreds of hours as volunteers in K-12 classrooms, and activists who have contributed to local efforts to fight against opioid addiction, homelessness and sexual assault. 


Each of the "29 Who Shine" named a faculty or staff mentor who provided guidance and support throughout the student’s years in college. These faculty were honored at a reception sponsored by the Massachusetts Teachers Association, immediately following the awards ceremony.

For the 8th straight year in a row, publishers of most daily newspapers across the state donated full color advertisements to honor the students for their contributions to their communities. Supporters of the “29 Who Shine” Publishers Campaign include The Springfield Republican, Lowell Sun, Fitchburg Sentinel and Enterprise, The Daily (Lynn) Item, and Gardner News.

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