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Claire Pomeroy, MD, MBA and Dermot Desmond
March 10, 2016

Commencement 2016 to recognize Claire Pomeroy and Dermot Desmond

  • Medical School
Gov. Charlie Baker to deliver June 5 Commencement address

UMass Medical School Commencement Exercises will recognize two distinguished individuals who will join Commencement speaker Gov. Charlie Baker, on Sunday, June 5, to honor the achievements of the classes of 2016, announced Chancellor Michael F. Collins.

Claire Pomeroy, MD, MBA, is president of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation. As chief executive officer, she is responsible for advancing the foundation's mission to improve health by accelerating support for medical research through recognition of research excellence, public education and advocacy. An expert in infectious diseases, Dr. Pomeroy is a long-time advocate for patients, especially those with HIV/AIDS, and her advocacy for biomedical research has made her one of the most influential and important voices in the nation. A graduate of the University of Michigan, she has held faculty positions at the University of Minnesota, University of Kentucky and University of California, Davis, where she also held a number of important leadership roles, including vice chancellor for human health sciences, dean of the School of Medicine, and CEO of the UC Davis Health System. She became president of the Lasker Foundation in June 2013.

“It will be a special pleasure to welcome her here, the home campus of the 2008 Lasker Basic Medical Research Award winner, Victor R. Ambros, PhD,” Chancellor Collins said.

Dermot Desmond is an international financier and philanthropist who has brought the same clarity of vision and focus that brought him success in the world of finance to an organization, RESPECT, devoted to developing services for those with intellectual and physical disabilities. Desmond has been chairman of RESPECT since 1996. Most recently, RESPECT has established the Daughters of Charity Technology, Research into Disability—the Doctrid Research Institute. This is a partnership of 16 universities and educational institutes around the world, including UMass Medical School. Together with funding from the EU, the Doctrid Research Institute is leading an initiative to support 40 fellowships in the field of autism and intellectual disabilities. Desmond’s good works have been recognized around the world, including being awarded the Ulysses Medal by University College, Dublin.

“We are exceptionally proud to recognize the achievements of these distinguished individuals and colleagues at this year’s Commencement,” Collins said. “Their accomplishments are making an impact around the globe, and inspire us to serve compassionately and do better in our own lives.”

“It is a privilege for our campus to host Gov. Baker for this milestone in the lives of our students, as they begin careers in medicine, nursing and scientific research that will change lives for the better. I know that all of you strive every day to improve the health of our neighbors in communities all across the commonwealth and, indeed, all around the world, and the Governor’s acknowledgement of this commitment elevates the occasion,” Collins said.

Since Gov. Baker took office, his administration has addressed a number of pressing matters, including the opioid crisis. Toward this effort, he has called on UMass Medical School to work in collaboration with Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, and the other three Massachusetts medical schools in defining core competencies that will form a new standard for all graduating medical and nursing students. Gov. Baker has also supported the efforts of the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund, named in tribute to his former mentor, which funds groundbreaking research into neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases such as ALS at UMass Medical School

The 2016 Commencement exercises will take place on Sunday, June 5, on the campus green, with seating beginning at 11 a.m., the processional initiating at 11:45 a.m., and the ceremony starting promptly at noon.