- Student: William Blackmar
- School: Worcester Polytechnic Institute
William Blackmar of Needham was awarded a Master of Business Administration degree at the 144th Commencement exercises at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) on May 12. A total of 1,077 degrees (718 bachelor's degrees, 349 master's, and 19 PhDs) were awarded during the ceremony, which took place outdoors on the WPI Quadrangle.
Thousands of students, their families and friends, trustees, and other special guests were on hand to experience the inspirational messages delivered by keynote speaker Roger W. Ferguson Jr., president and CEO of TIAA-CREF, and WPI President Dennis Berkey.
Honorary degrees were conferred upon Ferguson; president and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Susan Windham-Bannister; Nancy Hopkins, Amgen Professor of Biology at MIT; and Robert L. Norton, Milton Prince Higgins II Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at WPI.
In his commencement address, Ferguson said that the graduates are highly desired in the workplace due to the technical and human skills they've honed at WPI.
"Your education has given you a unique capacity for making an impact," Ferguson said. "You are doers. You are problem solvers and innovators. You are inventors and entrepreneurs. You are leaders. You are the kind of people who can deliver the innovation and progress that will enable our economy to thrive again. Just as your predecessors at WPI helped fuel the Industrial Revolution in New England, you can play a key role in keeping our nation strong and competitive in the 21st century global economy."
President Berkey told graduates to set high goals and to use the skills they learned at WPI to meet and resolve the challenges and threats facing the world.
"The degrees we award today symbolize an important public good of which this university is exceedingly proud," he said. "...in respect of the difficult world you are about to tackle, and especially in light of the economic and political calamities that have plagued the world throughout your college years, it is painfully evident that the world needs rebuilding-and shaping into a more stable, just, and sustainable form. You are well prepared for this ominous challenge and we know that you will play a great part in the rebuilding that must be done. In so doing, set no modest goals. You have experienced the thrill, power, and satisfaction of achievement at the highest levels. Let that be your lifelong quest."
The Chairman's Exemplary Faculty Prize was also presented, for the sixth time, during WPI's 2012 Commencement. The prize was established in 2007 through the personal philanthropy of Donald K. Peterson '71, former chair of the WPI Board of Trustees. The award recognizes faculty members who, as true exemplars of the university's highest aspirations and most important qualities, excel in all relevant areas of faculty performance. One prize, in the amount of $10,000, was awarded this year to WPI Professor Yi Hua (Ed) Ma of the Department of Chemical Engineering.
Founded in 1865 in Worcester, WPI was one of the nation's first engineering and technology universities. Its 14 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, business, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts, leading to bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees.