NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) celebrated its 117th Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 14, when 369 received their bachelor’s degrees and 35 obtained a master’s degree in the fields of education or business administration, or a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS).

This year's keynote speaker was James C. Clemmer ’86, a veteran executive with more than 25 years of business experience, who served as the campus's interim president from August 2015 until the March 1 arrival of MCLA's 12th president, Dr. James F. Birge. Clemmer received an honorary Doctor of Business.

In addition, state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) received an honorary Doctor of Public Service, and Yvonne Spicer, Ed.D., vice president of Advocacy and Educational Partnerships for the National Center for Technological Literacy at the Museum of Science, Boston, received an honorary Doctor of Humanities.

Clemmer is president and chief executive officer of AngioDynamics, a provider of innovative medical devices, headquartered in Latham, N.Y. He also is a member of the board of directors for Lantheus Holdings, Inc., of North Billerica, the parent company of Lantheus Medical Imaging (LMI), Inc., which develops, manufactures, sells and distributes diagnostic imaging agents and products.

Downing first was elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 2006, and was re-elected in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014. He represents the 52 communities of the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden districts, the largest Senate district in the Commonwealth,. He leads numerous committees. This includes serving as the Senate chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, and the chairman of the Senate Committee on Redistricting.  

Spicer is a national and international speaker and advocate for pre-college science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. She was honored in 2009 by “Mass High Tech: The Journal of New England Technology” as one of 10 “Women to Watch.” She also served on the technology and engineering design team for the National Research Council (NRC) “Next Generation” Framework for Science Education,” which was approved on July 19, 2011.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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