News: Featured Stories

May 27, 2017

UMass Boston’s 84-year-old graduate gives TD Garden crowd lesson in perseverance


  • Boston

One very special member of the Class of 2017 brought both tears and thunderous applause to the TD Garden on Friday.

Joan Donovan is 84 years old and a freshly minted graduate. After six children, 10 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren, she has earned a bachelor's degree in English from UMass Boston.

When Chancellor J. Motley asked Donovan to stand and be recognized during his opening remarks, she had tears in her eyes. So did many in the audience. Motley then came off the stage to embrace Donovan in a hug. (Watch the video here.)

About two hours later, when Donovan's name was called, the TD Garden crowd erupted in applause and gave her a rousing ovation. She, in turn, recognized them — arms raised in triumph. (Watch the video here.)