Media Contact
May 17, 2007

WPI will award 653 degrees at its 139th Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 19, including 480 bachelor of science degrees, a total of 152 master's degrees, and 21 PhDs. The ceremony starts at 11 a.m., and will be held on the Quadrangle (rain location, Harrington Auditorium). The commencement speaker is Deborah Dunsire, MD, president and CEO of Millennium Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, Mass.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will award 653 degrees at its 139th Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 19, including 480 bachelor of science degrees, a total of 152 master's degrees (135 master of science, eight master of engineering, five MBA, and four master of mathematics for educators), and 21 PhDs.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Starting at 11 a.m.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The Quadrangle (rain location, Harrington Auditorium)

100 Institute Road

Worcester, Mass.


Deborah Dunsire, MD, is president and CEO of Cambridge, Mass.-based Millennium Pharmaceuticals. Founded in 1994, Millennium is one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies in the development of drugs for cancer. Dunsire previously led the U.S. oncology business at Novartis, playing a critical role in the development and launch of medications used to treat several types of cancer. She was also responsible for managing the merger of the Sandoz Pharmaceuticals and Ciba-Geigy oncology businesses to form Novartis. A graduate of the medical school of the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, Dunsire was a practicing physician and worked as a clinical researcher earlier in her career.

Honorary Degrees

In addition to Deborah Dunsire, honorary doctorates will be presented to:

  • Bernard M. Gordon, founder and chairman emeritus of Analogic Corp., who is known as “the father of analog to digital conversion” for his contributions to signal translation, medical tomography, and other high-precision instruments. Gordon holds more than 200 patents worldwide and has received the National Medal of Technology. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, which established the Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education in his honor.
  • 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. A noted astrophysicist, Tyson is the author of numerous books on the universe, writes a monthly column for Natural History magazine, and has served on presidential commissions on the future of the U.S. aerospace industry and the implementation of the U.S. space exploration policy. He was recently named one of the 100 most influential people by Time magazine.

Presidential Medal

As part of the Commencement ceremony, WPI President and CEO Dennis D. Berkey will present the WPI Presidential Medal to Lt. Gov. Tim Murray. Murray is a former three-term mayor of Worcester who worked to promote the city's economic development and the advancement of new research technologies and facilities, in particular Gateway Park, home of the soon-to-open WPI Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center. The Presidential Medal has been presented to 16 individuals since its creation in 2001, including U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and nationally recognized inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen ‘73.

Of Special Interest

  • Seniors Christian Banker (Norwich, Conn.), Michael Cretella Jr. (Monroe, Conn.), Jeff DiMaria (Prospect, Conn.), Jamie Mitchell (Worcester, Mass.), and Jeffrey Tucker (Nottingham, N.H.), may be just starting their careers, but they've already attracted the interest of the national media with their inventive genius. A new type of computer mouse they created for WPI's Major Qualifying Project was one of 10 inventions honored by Popular Science magazine with the inaugural PopSci Invention Awards. The awards are the cover story in the June 2007 issue of the magazine. The mouse uses an array of receivers to track the motion of a tiny ultrasonic transmitter worn on the index finger like a ring, making it possible to control and manipulate items on a computer screen just by pointing at the monitor. The project was advised by Brian King, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at WPI.
  • Nicholas S. McBride, of East Falmouth, Mass., will receive a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering on Saturday with the Class of 2007. He was recently named a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-Oxford/Cambridge Biomedical Research Scholar. The interdisciplinary program is devoted to the training of up to six outstanding American students in biomedical research leading to a doctoral degree awarded by the University of Oxford or University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. McBride has been active in research and extracurricular activities during his time at WPI. For his senior project, McBride developed cardiac patches that regenerate heart tissue. He has also conducted research at Total ReCord, a Worcester biomedical firm, as well as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. As a junior, McBride was a member of a WPI student team in Namibia, Africa that collaborated with shack-dwellers and developed community-based solutions to control flooding and erosion in the village of Windhoek. The project recently received first place in WPI's President's IQP Awards competition.
  • Jillian Wise, of Foxboro, Mass., will receive a bachelor of science degree in biology and biotechnology on Saturday with the Class of 2007. Wise, who earned all A's and only one B in her four years at WPI, is the first person in her family to graduate from college. She will pursue her PhD at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, one of the premier cancer research centers in the nation. The loss of a family friend and neighbor to cancer and a close friend who is a Leukemia survivor, motivated Wise to pursue a career in cancer research. Wise will graduate from WPI with high distinction and has received numerous awards at the university, including being named a Charles Thompson Scholar and the “outstanding woman on campus” in her sophomore year.
  • The Chairman's Exemplary Faculty Prize will be presented for the first time during WPI’s 2007 Commencement. The prize was established this year through the personal philanthropy of Donald K. Peterson ’71, current chair of the WPI Board of Trustees. It 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. Two prizes, each in the amount of $10,000, are being awarded this year.

Media interested in covering the ceremony: Please contact either Eileen Brangan Mell at 508-831-6785 (office) or 774-437-8767 (cell), or Lorraine Urbanski at 508-831-6425.