WPI’s 139th Commencement ceremony was held on Saturday, May 19, in Harrington Auditorium. Set among a sea of black and crimson robes, and featuring the university’s new regalia, WPI dignitaries awarded 653 degrees, including 480 bachelor of science degrees, 152 master’s degrees (135 master of science, 8 master of engineering, 5 master of business administration, and 4 master of mathematics for educators), and 21 PhDs.
Honorary degrees were conferred upon keynote speaker Deborah Dunsire, MD, president and CEO of Cambridge, Mass.-based Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Bernard M. Gordon, founder and chairman emeritus of Analogic Corp., who is known as “the father of analog to digital conversion,” and Neil deGrasse Tyson, Frederick P. Rose director of the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History in New York and host of the PBS television series NOVA scienceNOW.
In her address, Dunsire told students to remain true to growth and integrity, and that their education at WPI will help their careers and lives flourish. “Your experiential, project-based learning sets this school apart in wise and valuable ways,” she said.
As part of the Commencement ceremony, President Dennis Berkey awarded the WPI Presidential Medal to Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, a former three-term mayor of Worcester. Murray worked to promote the city’s economic development and the advancement of new research technologies and facilities—in particular Gateway Park, home of WPI’s new Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center.
Also presented was the Chairman’s Exemplary Faculty Prize, established this year through the personal philanthropy of Donald K. Peterson ’71, current chair of the WPI Board of Trustees, to recognize faculty members who, as true exemplars of the university’s highest aspirations and most important qualities, excel in all relevant areas of faculty performance. Two prizes, each in the amount of $10,000, were awarded this year to John A. McNeill, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Richard D. Sisson Jr., professor of mechanical engineering.
In his closing remarks, President Berkey reminded students that lifelong learning is “more than a slogan at WPI. It is a habit of mind that arises from the experience of a truly excellent education.”
WPI’s 2007 Commencement marked the debut of new regalia for degree candidates, trustees, and the president. The robes (black for bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates, crimson for PhD candidates) featured embroidered WPI seals on the front. Undergraduates receiving honors wore cords of crimson (distinction) or gray (high distinction). The new presidential and trustee robes were crimson. President Berkey wore a new Presidential Medallion, with the WPI seal cast in silver and the names and years of service of all 15 of WPI’s presidents engraved on small silver plates that form links in the chain. Provost ad interim John Orr carried a new Academic Mace, a 42-inch-tall staff made from fluted cherry wood topped with a circular silver pedestal on which sits a large silver medal that has the WPI seal on both sides. The medallion and mace were gifts to the university from President Berkey and his wife, Catherine.Maintained by email@example.com