Area residents receive degrees from Clark University

WORCESTER, MASS. (06/28/2024)– Clark University awarded 1,376 degrees (503 bachelor’s, 847 master’s, 26 doctoral degrees) to the Class of 2024 and conferred four honorary degrees during the University’s 120th Commencement exercises on Monday, May 20. The graduates included 653 international students representing 39 countries.

Following is a list of area residents who received degrees:

Sam Farrell, from Holliston, Mass. 01746, graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts.

Zach T. Cooper, from Holliston, Mass. 01746, graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts.

Geography Professor Rinku Roy Chowdhury read a commencement address from Dr. Robert D. Bullard, “the father of environmental justice” and the Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University, who was unable to attend in person due to an illness.

“Every successful progressive social movement in the United States has had strong, fearless, and dedicated young people and students leading the way, pushing hard at the front and pressing for justice now, rather than justice delayed,” Bullard wrote.

Bullard grew up a child of the Jim Crow South, attending all-Black elementary, middle, and high schools and undergraduate college. In a speech that cited a number of environmental justice milestones over the years, Bullard wrote that he was “happy to be able to pass the baton to the up-and-coming generations of environmental justice advocates who will continue with the same resilience that so many involved in the journey have already shown.”

In addition to Bullard, honorary degrees were conferred to Sean B. Carroll, Distinguished University Professor and Balo-Simon Chair of Biology at the University of Maryland, who has been called “the greatest science storyteller of our time”; Akiko Iwasaki, Sterling Professor of Immunobiology at the Yale University School of Medicine, who researches the mechanisms of immune defense against viruses at mucosal surfaces; and Michel Nischan, a four-time James Beard Award-winning chef and champion of the farm-to-table concept.

Two members of the Class of 2024 also spoke during the ceremony. Laila El-Samra addressed her fellow undergraduates and said that during the COVID years, “Clark’s unique spirit prevailed, fostering resilience and solidarity.”

Graduate student speaker Gabe Spindel lauded Clark for providing a diverse learning environment.

“We encompass every corner of the earth,” he said. “Celebrating Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, and the Chinese New Year has enriched me in a way no classroom ever could.”

In closing, Clark President David B. Fithian told the graduates, “My greatest hope for you is that you truly relish the never finished business of the project that is you, that you embrace the joy of discovery still ahead, and that you seize the opportunities to learn even more about the world, yourself, and what fulfills you.”

Complete coverage of Clark’s 120th Commencement can be found on the web.

Founded in 1887, Clark University is a liberal arts-based research university that prepares its students to meet tomorrow’s most daunting challenges and embrace its greatest opportunities. Through more than 45 undergraduate majors and major tracks, more than 30 advanced degree programs, a growing number of professional certificate programs and nationally recognized community partnerships, Clark fuses rigorous scholarship with authentic world and workplace experiences that empower our students to pursue lives and careers of meaning and consequence.

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