News: Press Releases

May 13, 2013

UMass announces posthumous degree for Marathon victim, other memorials and initiatives

  • The UMass System
Scholarship fund, running events, tree plantings and moments of silence included in system-wide response

May 13, 2013: The University of Massachusetts today announced a series of initiatives to honor victims injured and killed a month ago during the Boston Marathon attack, including a posthumous degree for Marathon victim Krystle Campbell, a former sociology student at UMass Boston.

"Our community experienced a tremendous loss during the Boston Marathon attack," said J. Keith Motley, chancellor at UMass Boston. "Krystle was a wonderful part of our campus community and we wanted to recognize her contributions and impact through the awarding of this posthumous degree.  She was a great student and friend to many, and she will be greatly missed."

Campbell will be awarded the posthumous bachelor of art degree at UMass Boston's undergraduate commencement on May 31. The campus also held a Service of Healing and Reconciliation shortly following Campbell's funeral.

"The Boston Marathon bombings have deeply impacted all of us and we want to show our support for those who were hurt or killed, along with the first responders and other caregivers who responded so heroically that day," said Robert L Caret, president of the University of Massachusetts. "I'm proud of the way our students, faculty and staff have rallied in support of all the lives permanently altered by this attack, and our campus communities are truly embodying the spirit of Boston Strong."

UMass is holding a moment of silence during commencement on each of its five campuses in memory of the four victims killed and in an expression of support for all those who were injured and impacted that day.

"One of the things I admire most about the University of Massachusetts is the warmth and caring of our students, faculty and staff, which has been on display in a variety of ways since this terrible tragedy," said Henry Thomas, chairman of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees. "The spirit of Boston Strong is reflected throughout the UMass system as we continue to support and recognize all those impacted by this event."

Lowell: UMass Lowell has established a Boston Marathon Scholarship fund to benefit those affected by the bombings, as at least one of its former students and an alumna were injured during the blasts. Boston Police Department Commissioner Ed Davis will be the keynote speaker during the University's undergraduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18, and receive an honorary degree.

"Like many in the Commonwealth we had members of our community directly impacted by this attack, and felt it was important to show our support through this scholarship fund," said Marty Meehan, chancellor of UMass Lowell. "We're honored to have Commissioner Davis, a Lowell native and a symbol of strength, participate in our commencement ceremony and Commencement Eve Celebration that raises money for student scholarships. His leadership during this incredibly difficult time was remarkable and we're pleased to have him back on campus for commencement."

Medical School: At UMass Medical School, students, faculty, and campus officials will mark the extraordinary efforts of first responders. Fourteen members of the medical school community were volunteers in the Marathon medical tent at the time of the bombings and rushed to help victims. The campus plans to plant a peace tree in honor of the victims of the attacks as well as the nurses, doctors, and first responders who treated so many individuals.

"In the wake of those terrible blasts, as scores of people raced away from the scene, our brave first responders saw patients in need and went directly to their sides," said Dr. Michael F. Collins, Chancellor of UMass Medical School. "We are in debt to those individuals who sacrificed their own safety to comfort the victims and administer critical care. They saved lives. They are an example to us all." 

Amherst: At UMass Amherst, Minuteman Football Coach Charley Molnar invited Boston Marathon runners unable to finish the race to join him at the annual Spring Alumni Football game April 20 for a special ceremonial crossing of the finish line.  During the game, football players also honored those who lost their lives with special jerseys bearing the names of the victims.  Football Captain Rob Blanchflower also wore "BostonStrong" on his jersey. The named jerseys will be given to the families who lost loved ones, while the "BostonStrong" jersey will be auctioned off with proceeds to benefit The One Fund.

"The UMass Amherst community has been wonderful in its efforts to come together and support all those who suffered injury and loss during the Boston Marathon," said Kumble R. Subbaswamy, chancellor of UMass Amherst.  "The efforts exhibited by our students, faculty and staff since Patriots Day reflects the true spirit and nature of this community and we will continue to stand Boston Strong."

Dartmouth: On the campus of UMass Dartmouth, students will plant a tree in honor of those affected by the attack. Student leaders also announced that they are organizing a Torch Relay to benefit the One Fund. During the Torch Relay, students will take turns passing the torch at each one of the 55 miles from the UMass Dartmouth campus to the Boylston Street marathon memorial site in Boston. The event is tentatively scheduled for the weekend following Independence Day.

"The attacks one month ago have left a deep mark on this community, and our students, faculty and staff have come together to support all those impacted by this terrible tragedy," said Divina Grossman, chancellor of UMass Dartmouth.  "We will continue to stand strong and work together as a community to honor the victims who were injured or lost their life that day." 

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-7073; Ann Scales, 617-287-4084