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UMass Medical School announces 2019 Commencement speaker, honorary degree recipients

UMass Medical School Communications

January 31, 2019

The 46th Commencement Exercises at UMass Medical School on Sunday, June 2, will recognize the accomplishments of Darrell G. Kirch, MD, president and chief executive officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC); Susan Coghlin Mailman, owner of Worcester’s Coghlin Electrical Contractors, Inc.; and Richard P. Kennedy, president of The Angel Fund for ALS Research, who is, himself, living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

  Darrell G. Kirch

Darrell G. Kirch

Dr. Kirch will deliver the Commencement address and will receive, along with Mailman and Kennedy, an honorary degree from UMass Medical School.

As president and CEO of the AAMC since 2006, Darrell G. Kirch, MD, guides the premier not-for-profit association representing all LCME-accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada, nearly 400 teaching hospitals and health systems and 80 academic societies. A psychiatrist and clinical neuroscientist by training, Kirch began his career at the National Institute of Mental Health, and subsequently held leadership positions at the Medical College of Georgia and at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center at The Pennsylvania State University, where he was senior vice president for health affairs, dean of the College of Medicine and CEO. In 2007, Kirch was elected to the National Academy of Medicine; he also has been named a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and honored with the Gold Humanism in Medicine Medal. Kirch speaks and publishes widely on the need for transformation in America’s health care system and how academic medicine can lead that change.

  Susan Coghlin Mailman (photo credit: Dina Godzik)

Susan Coghlin Mailman
(photo by Dina Godzik)

  Richard P. Kennedy

Richard P. Kennedy

Susan Coghlin Mailman, MBA, is one of the leading civic-minded business leaders in Central Massachusetts. As the fourth-generation owner, chairwoman and treasurer of Coghlin Electrical Contractors, Inc., in Worcester, she leads hundreds of electrical contractors on major construction projects across the commonwealth and New England. Equally notable is Mailman’s deep personal commitment to, and involvement in, some of the core community and business organizations in Central Massachusetts. She currently serves as the chair of the Quinsigamond Community College Foundation board and president of the Associated Subcontractors of Massachusetts. Previously, Mailman served on the boards of the Worcester Chamber of Commerce and the YWCA of Central Massachusetts.

Richard P. Kennedy serves as president of The Angel Fund for ALS Research, a nonprofit organization that is deeply committed to supporting the research of Robert H. Brown Jr., DPhil, MD. Since its founding in 1997, The Angel Fund has generously provided millions of dollars in discretionary funds to Dr. Brown and his team of research colleagues working to unlock the mysteries of ALS and develop promising treatments. Personally, ALS has been a part of the Kennedy family since 1989, when the disease claimed Kennedy’s father. Several years later, Kennedy’s youngest brother died from ALS at the age of 31; and in 2016, Kennedy was himself diagnosed with ALS at the age of 56. The commitment of Kennedy, his family, friends and colleagues at The Angel Fund is more ardent than ever—they advocate and raise money for promising research because it provides meaningful hope to his family and countless others around the globe.

Approximately 215 students from the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Nursing and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences will receive degrees this year. Commencement 2019 will take place on Sunday, June 2, on the campus green. Guest seating will begin at 11 a.m. with the processional starting at 11:45 a.m., and the ceremony, which will be available for live viewing at, will start promptly at noon.