For Immediate Release - May 12, 2011


29 students from the public higher education Class of 2011 awarded at State House

29 Who Shine

Governor Patrick highlights excellence in higher education at the "29 Who Shine" awards ceremony. (Photo credit: Matt Bennett/Governor's Office)

BOSTON - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - Governor Deval Patrick today joined leaders in higher education to celebrate 29 outstanding Class of 2011 graduates from the Commonwealth's community colleges, state universities and the University of Massachusetts at the first "29 Who Shine" awards event at the State House.

The student honorees range in age from 17 to 52 and hail from each of the state's 29 public higher education campuses, which are located in 25 cities and towns across Massachusetts. Each student was nominated for the "29 Who Shine" award by faculty and staff at the individual campuses.

"Each of these outstanding graduates has a remarkable story to tell," said Governor Patrick. "Collectively, they remind us of the power of public higher education, not only to change individual lives but to move Massachusetts forward in an increasingly competitive global economy."

The State House celebration included more than 100 graduates, family members and campus leaders who gathered to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of all students across the public higher education system. The group includes future chemical engineers, nurses, teachers, doctors, business leaders, respiratory technicians, artists, neuroscientists, public defenders and an astrophysicist.

"The "29 Who Shine" represent the best and the brightest graduates from our community colleges, state universities and the University of Massachusetts," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "We are proud to have such talented students call Massachusetts home and wish them the best of luck in the future."

"These 29 students are terrific examples of the community leadership and academic excellence seen across our public campuses," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "I am proud to honor these students and everyone who played a role in their success."

Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland said the students have already contributed to the state's civic well-being by serving their communities and preparing to work in high-need areas of the Massachusetts economy, such as the STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - fields.

"These students have proven themselves and shown that they will make significant contributions to our state's future," said Freeland. "They've studied hard to prepare for productive careers, but they've also made time to engage in the civic life of their communities, and Massachusetts is better off because of these efforts."

In addition to the awards received at today's ceremony, the students will be honored with donated full-page and half-page advertisements appearing in many daily newspapers across the state.

"As a publisher, I know that most of these students are Massachusetts residents who've grown up here and plan to stay here," said George Arwady, Publisher and CEO of the Springfield Republican. "These college students are members of my community and I'm delighted to be able to give them the recognition they so richly deserve."

"Every year UMass brings millions of research and development dollars into the state," said Jack Wilson, President of the University of Massachusetts. "This initiative to honor our graduates serves as another reminder to the citizens of Massachusetts that public higher education adds enormous value. For every dollar we spend on their education, high-achieving students pay us back with huge dividends."

Among the students chosen for the "29 Who Shine"

  • Morgan Opie, Cape Cod Community College: Graduating at age 17 with a 4.0 GPA, Morgan has been a peer math tutor, president of her campus Sustainability Club, and plans to pursue a career as an astrophysicist. She is currently attending a program for young scientists at NASA. She has been accepted at UMass Amherst's Commonwealth Honors College.
  • Michael G. Doren, Massachusetts Maritime Academy: This year's class valedictorian, Michael has worked tirelessly both inside and outside of the classroom. Michael serves as 5th Company Commander at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, with responsibility for 170 cadets. He also volunteers with the Raytheon Company's "Math Moves U" program to help middle school students with math and science skills. He has been offered and accepted a job with Raytheon.
  • Engy Mui, University of Massachusetts Boston: A former Navy medic and biology major graduating with a 3.91 GPA from UMass Boston, Engy is currently conducting cognitive neurobiology research at Children's Hospital in Boston. She has been active in veterans' affairs on campus and volunteered in the Emergency Radiology Department at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. She is applying to medical school.

    * View the full list of "29 Who Shine" award winners:


Follow us on Twitter - View our Photos - Watch our Videos