Zach Garbowitz, a native of Chatham, graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).
Garbowitz was one of 1,077 graduates to receive a degree at WPI's 144th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 12. There were 718 bachelor's degrees, 349 master's degrees and 19 PhD. degrees conferred.
The keynote speaker was Roger W. Ferguson Jr., president and CEO of TIAA-CREF, and WPI President Dennis Berkey. Honorary degrees were conferred upon the following:
- president and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Susan Windham-Bannister;
- Nancy Hopkins, Amgen Professor of Biology at MIT;
- and Robert L. Norton, Milton Prince Higgins II Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at WPI.
In his commencement address, Ferguson said that the graduates are highly desired in the workplace due to the technical and human skills they've honed at WPI:
"You are doers. You are problem solvers and innovators. You are inventors and entrepreneurs. You are leaders. You are the kind of people who can deliver the innovation and progress that will enable our economy to thrive again. Just as your predecessors at WPI helped fuel the Industrial Revolution in New England, you can play a key role in keeping our nation strong and competitive in the 21st century global economy."
Berkey told graduates to set high goals and use the skills they learned at WPI to meet and resolve the challenges and threats facing the world. He said that because of "the economic and political calamities" in recent history, "it is painfully evident that the world needs rebuilding-and shaping into a more stable, just, and sustainable form. You are well prepared for this ominous challenge and we know that you will play a great part in the rebuilding that must be done."
The Chairman's Exemplary Faculty Prize was also presented in the amount of $10,000, to WPI Professor Yi Hua (Ed) Ma of the Department of Chemical Engineering. The prize was established in 2007 through donations from Donald K. Peterson '71, former chair of the WPI Board of Trustees, and recognizes faculty members who excel in all relevant areas of faculty performance.
Garbowitz was also one of 1,286 students named to the institute's Dean's List for academic excellence for the 2012 spring semester.
The criteria for the WPI Dean's List differ from that of most other universities as WPI does not compute a grade point average (GPA). Instead, WPI defines the Dean's List by the amount of work completed at the "A" level in courses and projects.
Provost Eric Overström said because of this criteria and WPI's academic standards, "being named to the Dean's List is a testament to hard work, a sharp mind, and a commitment to excellence."
WPI was founded in 1865 in Worcester, Mass. and was one of the nation's first engineering and technology universities. Its 14 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, business, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts, leading to bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. Students also have the opportunity to travel around the world through the university's innovative Global Perspective Program. There are more than 25 WPI project centers throughout North America and Central America, Africa, Australia, Asia and Europe.