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Chancellor Collins to receive honorary degree, offer reflection at Holy Cross commencement May 21

UMass Medical School Communications

April 02, 2021

Chancellor Michael F. Collins has been selected by Holy Cross as one of its honorary degree recipients at the college’s commencement ceremony on Friday, May 21, at Fitton Field in Worcester. Chancellor Collins will offer a reflection for the Class of 2021 graduates. He is a 1977 alumnus of Holy Cross and former board chair. 


In addition to serving as chancellor of the Medical School, Collins is senior vice president for the health sciences for the University of Massachusetts. He oversees a $1 billion academic health sciences center that includes three graduate schools; a $400 million research enterprise; Commonwealth Medicine, the medical school’s health care consulting and operations division; and MassBiologics of UMass Medical School, the nation’s only nonprofit, university-based FDA-licensed discoverer and manufacturer of vaccines and other biologics.

Over his 14-year tenure as chancellor, Collins has been an engaged leader for the higher education and Central Massachusetts communities. During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he has supported important public health initiatives, including the creation of the UMass Medical School Vaccine Corps, which has recruited more than 6,400 volunteers to support the commonwealth’s vaccination campaign and the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Prior to joining the university, he served as president and chief executive officer of the Massachusetts-based Caritas Christi Health Care System from 1994 to 2004.

A graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine, Collins is board-certified in internal medicine. He is a tenured professor of medicine and population & quantitative health sciences at UMass Medical School and a fellow of the American College of Physicians.

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. representative to the United Nations, will deliver the Holy Cross commencement address. Reverend David Beckmann, one of the foremost U.S. advocates for people struggling with hunger and poverty in the United States and globally, will also be awarded an honorary degree, as will Sister Donna Markham, president of Catholic Charities USA, according to Holy Cross.