Must be the schools....
"Seeking diversity and money, schools are embracing foreign students" by Laura Krantz Globe Staff July 05, 2016
Dozens of public school districts around the state have signed contracts to enroll foreign students in their high schools, attracted by the prospect of thousands of dollars in tuition revenue and a chance to diversify their student bodies.
Recruiting firms, tapping the growing hunger — primarily in China — for an American education, connect students with the schools for a handsome fee.
Then what is with all the war talk?
Beyond that charade and enemy-creating agenda-pushing, is the sudden realization that it's not about education anymore. Education is simply another in$titution to act as an avenue for revenue. Money has destroyed an semblance of public good or welfare over here as public schools go beggaring for funds while hundreds of millions if not billions are piled into corporate welfare nationally and in this state.
It's all good in my Globe though.
Districts that work with one such company receive between $9,200 and $16,700 from each family of an international student, according to a Globe review of 21 contracts that districts signed with that company, the Waltham-based Cambridge Institute of International Education. The contracts also reveal that host families receive between $5,000 and $10,000 a year, depending on the district, to house and feed them.
Public schools are the latest frontier for foreign students seeking US diplomas, which they believe will help them gain admittance to US universities. The booming industry of companies that funnel these students into schools has thus far focused on private and Catholic schools. With those markets saturated, the companies have begun zeroing in on public schools as their next lucrative target.
“For us, it seemed like a good thing,” said Robert Monteiro, superintendent in Swansea, a Southeastern Massachusetts town of about 15,000. “Swansea’s a small town — not a lot of diversity.”
So they are going to for$e it down your throat.
And that is not because I have anything against the Chinese or any other foreigner. It's not about the good-hearted intentions of bankrupt and corrupt government. I wish I had a national government that jealously guarded its economic and manufacturing base as the Chinese have. Instead I have a government that gave corporations tax loot to relocate overseas and now wants a TPP treaty to lower the costs of shipping the stuff back. That way your drop in wages will be relative to the crap you're buying.
While the public school market for international students is growing, it is still relatively small.
Globe is giving it a front page shove here.
Companies such as Cambridge Institute are focusing on Massachusetts because the state is known for its high-performing public high schools and top universities. Two years ago, the company hired two former local superintendents to pitch its services to schools from North Andover to Scituate. So far, 23 districts have signed up with the firm and at least an additional 18 work with other recruiting companies.
But districts are learning that dealings with these companies carry risks.
Schools that contract with Cambridge Institute rely on the company to vet students, translate transcripts, tutor, and match students with host families. Yet if something goes wrong, it’s the school’s reputation that could suffer.
“Your average school doesn’t fully grasp those risks,” said Eddie West, director of international initiatives at the National Association for College Admission Counseling, which closely monitors the international student recruitment phenomenon.
There is little government oversight of this burgeoning industry. The state does not monitor districts’ contracts, nor how they spend the revenue. And while the federal government monitors schools and individual students, it does not scrutinize the companies.
Many superintendents said they are frustrated because Cambridge Institute has not delivered the target number of students specified in their contracts, often because it cannot recruit enough host families.
Please don't tell me.... $igh.
Former employees of Cambridge Institute suggest the problems go deeper. In interviews with a dozen of them, and in official complaints filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, they told of a computer hack of host family financial information stored in a database and of Chinese students who refused to live with nonwhite families. Employees, in the complaints, said the company is internally chaotic and puts profit ahead of students’ and schools’ well-being.
If that is true, you wouldn’t know it from a visit to the company's Waltham headquarters.
Yeah, a scrubbed-up public relations tour always helps the pre$$ get to the truth (ha-ha-ha-ha!).
Recruiting host families is also a challenge. In small, suburban towns, it can be hard to persuade a family to open its doors to a stranger, Cambridge Institute officials said.
When I'm sure they have impeccable references?
I mean, it's not like some ISIS mole hiding in a pack of Syrian refugees they are dumping in towns and cities across the nation.
Former employees said recruitment problems are more complex. Many Chinese families request their children be placed with a white family, the employees said.
“I would constantly hear, ‘Oh, that family’s black,’ ” said Rayshauna Gray, who is black herself and worked in the company’s Waltham office for a year in 2013 and 2014.
Co-owner Christine Lin said it is working to reverse cultural stereotypes among Chinese families.
“It’s going to take time for us to educate them, to say ‘Hey, America is like this,’ ” Lin said.
Employees, in their complaints, cited a host of concerns with Lin’s operation.
One former Cambridge Institute employee said in an interview that the company stored student health data and financial information about host families in an unprotected database that was recently hacked. The employee said he repeatedly warned executives that information was vulnerable and suggested ways to secure it.
“They just didn’t want to spend the money. Always the cheapest possible way, that’s the way it was going to be done,” said the employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he still works in the industry.
Cambridge has acknowledged the data breach and hired a consultant to help secure the information, Lin said. It has also revamped its hiring and employee training and recently hired a new team of top executives, she said.
Most districts are hopeful the company will work out its kinks and they will see the diversity, and revenue, they were promised.
Others are losing patience....
"Fangzheng Guo, from Shandong province in China, is a member of a growing and increasingly important population for businesses in Boston: international students."
And now they are complaining about the schools?
Then go somewhere else!
"Plan for a Chinese academy stirs worries in a Conn. town" by Laura Krantz Globe Staff April 27, 2016
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — A year ago, the leaders of this quiet suburb found themselves faced with an unusual — and highly lucrative — proposition.
A Chinese company wanted to build an international academy in town, then funnel hundreds of students from the academy into local public high schools, where students would pay thousands in tuition to the district.
Local officials saw a potential windfall of private money and an antidote to the schools’ declining enrollment. As radical as the proposition was, it quickly moved forward.
Now, opposition to the uncommon arrangement is quietly growing. Last week local officials learned the Chinese company is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for possibly skirting federal visa laws in a similar program it runs in Michigan.
In addition, local residents have raised concerns about entangling public schools with a foreign company whose primary goal is profit. They also wonder how the arrival of several hundred foreign students might impact classes, athletics, and competition in college admissions.
“Public schools are a public resource,” said Christopher Barnes, a town councilor in West Hartford, a middle-class town of about 61,000. “They shouldn’t be for sale.”
I'm wondering if the same outrage would be attached were the country Israel and not China.
We would even be reading about it?
In many ways, the controversial proposal underscores broader concerns about the thriving international education industry, which has made rich a network of intermediaries who connect US high schools and colleges with full-tuition-paying Chinese students hungry for American diplomas. Eager to pad their budgets, schools have been known to look the other way on common problems, including ghostwritten essays and rampant cheating by these students on the SATs in China.
I'm sure I could find an article or two regarding fed busts of the diploma mill type things, but why bother? Two and a half months later it's all good in the top-right corner of the front page!
But while Chinese students have poured into private high schools and colleges at record numbers for a decade, their arrival at public high schools is relatively new and governed more strictly by federal visa laws. Many public high schools in Massachusetts enroll some tuition-paying foreign students but nothing like the scope proposed in West Hartford.
The Chinese company, Weiming Education Group, educates 40,000 students on 42 campuses in China, according to a letter it sent West Hartford. In 2012, the company began sending some students to study at “partner” high schools in the United States. Students typically pay Weiming around $40,000, and the company pays districts about $10,000 per student.
The company’s West Hartford plan centers on its likely purchase of the University of Connecticut’s serene 58-acre satellite campus in West Hartford, which it would renovate into a school. Weiming has offered UConn $12.6 million for the property, and the deal is nearly final, although the town could still match the offer and buy it instead.
(Blog editor snorts as he sleeps at his desk; I'm waiting to see the risk-benefit analy$i$ for the town)
UConn, meanwhile, is hardly a disinterested seller. The university’s Neag School of Education is considering establishing a teacher training program with Weiming, and last month the company paid UConn $46,000 to fly seven university officials on a trip to China. A UConn spokeswoman said the property sale and the Neag School’s negotiations are separate.
The international academy would enroll perhaps as many as 500 students from around the world, said chief executive Tim DiScipio, who leads Weiming’s US subsidiary. Those students would ideally transfer into local high schools after two years at the academy, he said. Local teachers and students would also have the opportunity to do exchange programs in China, he said.
“It’s this kind of cross-cultural benefit that really gives a student a unique perspective,” said DiScipio, who joined the company less than two years ago after a career in education software.
Separate from its plan to build an academy, Weiming has already signed a three-and-a-half-year agreement with West Hartford for a pilot program that will bring as many as 30 Weiming students to the district this fall for two years of study.
The contract also says local school officials will help develop a curriculum that can be taught in Weiming’s schools in China and says the company may send its teachers to be trained in West Hartford. Last month, Weiming paid for an eight-day trip for West Hartford Assistant Superintendent Andrew Morrow and a colleague to interview its students in China.
School officials said they are excited for a chance to bring more diversity to their two high schools, which are about 40 percent non-white in their total student body of 3,000, and acknowledged the tuition revenue will help the district, which enrolls about 100 fewer new students each year than it graduates.
“I would love to place some of those students in our schools; so would the neighboring communities,” said West Hartford Superintendent Tom Moore.
Those students in the pilot program will live in dorms at nearby University of Saint Joseph, pay $13,000 annual tuition to West Hartford, and earn US diplomas, according to the contract. Local school officials are in talks with UConn for the university to sponsor students’ second-year visas as part of a dual enrollment program.
Yet such an arrangement is at the core of Homeland Security’s investigation into Weiming’s similar setup with the school district of Oxford, Mich., a township of 3,500 north of Detroit.
Under federal law, foreign students may attend a public school for only 12 months total and must reimburse the district the full cost of their education. In Michigan, students attend the high school for two years, enrolling the second year in a dual-enrollment program with a local college, which sponsors the second-year visas.
The Homeland Security investigation was launched last year after residents complained that Weiming and the district were violating the visa laws, according to e-mails reviewed by the Globe.
Additional problems have beset the program in Oxford. William Skilling had served as superintendent while he was also a paid consultant for Weiming and subsequently signed a contract between the district and Weiming, according to documents obtained through a public records request by local residents reviewed by the Globe.
It's a conflict of interests, but government looks the other way here. It was resident complaints that made them take action!
The residents have pushed the district for more information and also learned that Oxford receives state tax dollars to educate the Chinese students, even though the students also pay the district $10,000 in annual tuition.
“They have to skirt the rules to make it lucrative,” said Kallie Meyers, a leader of the residents group in Michigan. She said West Hartford should also ensure its contract with Weiming prohibits conflicts of interest among local administrators.
“No meals, no trips, no perks, no sightseeing, no promos,” she said.
Moore, the West Hartford superintendent, said he has spoken with Michigan officials about their experiences. He learned about the ongoing federal investigation last week and is seeking more information, he said.
“My reputation is way too important for me to engage in anything that’s anything less than aboveboard,” Moore said Friday.
Oxford school officials said they are unaware of a federal investigation and reported only positive experiences with Weiming. DiScipio said the company is aware of allegations made to federal officials but unaware of an ongoing investigation or any wrongdoing.
Over the weekend, Weiming officials in Beijing said the company was assured by Oxford administrators that its program was a legal way to offer a second year of study, according to an e-mail sent on the officials’ behalf by DiScipio.
As more residents in West Hartford raise questions about the potential partnership with Weiming, a public forum has been set for May 2 when locals will hear from company officials. The town has until May 15 to match Weiming’s offer and buy the campus.
Some local officials, including the town manager, Ron Van Winkle, have expressed support for the proposal, but others are skeptical.
“I do not believe that public school education should become a commodity,” said Christopher Williams, a town councilor.
It kind of already is.
Resident Susannah Chen, whose daughter is in elementary school, shares Williams’s skepticism. She and her husband lived in Shanghai the past four years, and said they witnessed an education system often motivated by ruthless competition, with anything available for a price. She worries those values might also come to local schools.
Chen also worries her concerns will sound xenophobic, a criticism some in town have already put forth. But her hesitance, she said, would be the same no matter where students come from.
“What does racism have to do with privatization of a public resource?” she said.
Looks like they discriminate against Chinese in Connecticut:
"Conn. town seeks to buy property eyed for Chinese academy" by Laura Krantz Globe Staff May 09, 2016
In an about-face, the town of West Hartford, Conn., has moved to purchase a University of Connecticut satellite campus and preempt a Chinese company’s plans to build an international academy on the site.
One week after a heated four-hour public meeting in which many residents questioned the plan, town officials met behind closed doors Monday morning and decided to buy the 58-acre parcel, according to two officials.
The tentative agreement calls for the town to pay $5 million for the site; the Chinese firm, Weiming Education Group, had been set to pay $12.6 million.
So they are forgoing over $7 million in this era of tight budgets and cuts?
They used to call that cutting off your nose despite your face.
The decision, if formally approved by the council next week and by UConn trustees, would derail Weiming’s ambitious intentions.
Over the past year, the company had sought to entice local officials with a plan to funnel hundreds of students from the academy into local public high schools, where students would pay tuition to the district. Some local officials were supportive, seeing a potential windfall of private money, an antidote to declining enrollment, and a way to further diversify classrooms.
But Town Councilor Christopher Barnes said Monday that he and other councilors were moved by strong opposition they heard from residents after Weiming’s plans became public in a Globe article.
“In the face of strong public opposition to the proposal, I think the town listened, and that was a factor in wanting to gain control of the parcel,” said Barnes, who had opposed the deal with Weiming even before the hearing.
So they listen on this one, huh?
The article also revealed that Weiming is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for allegedly skirting visa regulations that prevent students from studying at US public schools for more than 12 months, a claim Weiming and local officials denied.
Weiming’s plans for West Hartford were twofold. In addition to the long-term plan for an academy, the company in January signed a contract for a pilot program to start this fall and send 21 Chinese students to the high schools for two years. Each student would pay $13,000 in annual tuition. The status of that program is now unclear.
At the forum last week, attended by more than 300 residents, Superintendent Tom Moore vigorously defended the partnership, holding his hand to his heart as he told them the program would turn local students into global citizens. Moore did not respond to calls for comment Monday.
I thought he was a superintendent of West Hartford.
Why don't you worry about that?
Tim Discipio, the head of Weiming’s US operations, also made a presentation week, using a laser pointer as he flipped through slides of smiling children and facts about the company. Discipio said Monday that the company respects the town’s decision.
The proposed terms of the town’s tentative deal with UConn include a clawback provision that requires West Hartford to remit 90 percent of any profit it makes on any future sale of the parcel to a third party before October 2024.
A UConn spokeswoman said Monday the deal will be good for the town and for UConn.
West Hartford Town Manager Ron Van Winkle, who supported selling the land to Weiming because it would bring tax revenue, did not respond Monday to requests for comment, nor did Mayor Scott Slifka.
Town Councilor Christopher Williams, who opposed the partnership with Weiming, said he hopes all deals with the company are off.
Why wouldn't they be? The people have spoken, right?
You can always come back to Ma$$achu$etts:
"UMass criticized for too many out-of-state students" by Laura Krantz Globe Staff May 19, 2016
The Pioneer Institute is set to issue a report on Thursday highly critical of the University of Massachusetts for admitting too many out-of state students — a charge that prompted a sharp preemptive retort Wednesday from the university, which accused the conservative-leaning think tank of favoring private colleges over public ones.
The report, based on Pioneer research, warns that the UMass system has increased academic selectivity and focused on recruiting outside Massachusetts, thereby making it an unattainable option for many local students.
For the first time, UMass Amherst in 2015 accepted more non-Massachusetts residents than residents — although by just six students.
“All this is making it much tougher for Massachusetts high school graduates to get into UMass Amherst,” said Gregory Sullivan, the former state inspector general and the study’s lead researcher. “UMass Amherst has gotten out of reach for many kids.”
UMass officials, who reviewed the study before its release, fiercely contest the findings. A UMass Amherst spokesman issued a six-page rebuttal of the report’s assertions, and UMass president Martin T. Meehan, in an unusually strong statement, called the report an attempt to protect private schools.
“This report was essentially ‘written’ before the study was launched, and it is equally clear that Pioneer has an agenda of protecting those Massachusetts private institutions that haven’t been able to keep up with UMass in terms of enrollment, rankings, and stature,” Meehan said.
Yeah, I $ee it.
Related: Meehan to close campaign fund, give $4.35m balance to foundation
It was for tax purposes, not you.
UMass officials also pointed out that Jim Peyser, the education secretary under Governor Charlie Baker and an ex-officio member of the UMass board, is a former director of the Pioneer Institute, and said the think tank, and Peyser, lack support for public colleges and consider them inferior to the host of private schools in the area.
The study was issued two days after the state Senate, whose president hails from the Amherst district, unveiled a state budget that would increase funds to UMass. It also comes weeks before a June meeting in which UMass trustees may vote to increase tuition.
Did you see the whopper of an increase all across the state?
At least help is on the way.
A spokeswoman for Peyser said Wednesday that the secretary looks forward to reviewing the report.
“The Baker-Polito administration is focused on ensuring that our students receive the best possible quality and value out of our public higher education system,” the spokeswoman said.
The report, a three-part analysis, also explores the UMass building boom, saying the university has expanded so rapidly that it has dangerously increased its debt while ignoring overdue maintenance. That's how they build things here.
Sullivan, who co-authored the studies with Matt Blackbourn, said it was performed because Pioneer supports public higher education and wants it to improve.
He said he hopes the research will prompt lawmakers to curtail the scope of UMass’ expansion, insist it address deferred maintenance, and prompt UMass to cap the number of out-of-state students.
UMass has increased enrollment by 27 percent in the past decade, a rate faster than the national average for public universities and for private colleges in the area, the study found.
The study questions how growing enrollment of the five-campus system and increasing selectivity will affect small, private colleges in the state, and to what degree UMass has an obligation to educate Massachusetts residents, since it receives state money.
“The UMass expansion and their planned expansion of enrollment has a crowding-out effect and adversely affects some of the private colleges,” Sullivan said.
UMass officials said 80 percent of its graduates remain in Massachusetts in the short- to mid-term, and said 65 percent stay long-term, whereas most private school students leave the state when they graduate.
The study found that the number of out-of-state students across the UMass system increased 85 percent since 2008, while in-state enrollment increased 19 percent.
Currently, 23 percent of UMass undergraduates come from other states or countries, a percentage lower than the five other state flagship universities in New England, except the University of Connecticut. At the University of Vermont, out-of-state students account for 71 percent of students.
UMass in recent years has pressed the Legislature for more money, waging a battle with lawmakers last year over $10.9 million UMass said it was promised but never materialized.
The increasing reliance on out-of-state and international students, who pay higher tuition, reflects a national trend at many state universities. Some schools, including the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and the University of California Berkeley, have imposed caps on out-of-state students, the study said.
Tuition and fees next year at UMass Amherst will be $14,600 for in-state students, and $31,400 for out-of-state students, according to the school website.
The report suggests that if UMass plans to rely so heavily on out-of-state tuition and fees to offset expenses, it should consider raising the rate for those students. The University of Vermont, for example, charges 28 percent more for out-of-staters than UMass, the study said.
One part of the study focuses entirely on UMass’ building boom and subsequent debt, which rose from $946 million to $2.9 billion in the past decade, with annual debt payments that now total $223 million, the study found.
That is money going to banks and bondholders and not students or the school, but that's our $y$tem.
UMass invested $3.8 billion in new buildings and facilities in the past decade, and plans to spend $7 billion more before 2019, the study found. Meanwhile, UMass has not adequately maintained its existing facilities, the study said, and the backlog of unattended maintenance grew to $3.3 billion in the past decade.
"The business school dean opted for a different approach. He chose to go to the private sector. Isenberg has committed to raising $38 million, with the parent university paying for the rest, and donors have already stepped up with $9 million — enough to get construction started next month. This would be the largest such private fund-raising for a UMass building in the system’s history, easily topping the $26 million raised for a research center that opened at UMass Medical in Worcester in 2002. The pace of fund-raising is expected to accelerate now that school officials have detailed plans to show prospective donors. The largest gifts will allow benefactors to place their names on labs and offices."
There sure is a lot of money out there and it's not all private like they claim, is it?!
The study likened this trend to what has happened at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, another state entity riddled with debt and needed repairs.
That's an entirely different post if I ever decided to ride that pos again.
UMass trustee Margaret Xifaras pointed to the remodeled UMass Dartmouth library, which saw an uptick in usage afterward, as an example of why new projects matter.
“If we just chase the maintenance alone, we would just be sort of stuck putting Band-Aids on,” she said.
Yes, let's build this splendid ivory tower on debt while the place around us all is crashing down. I thought these people were educated.
So how much does a tru$tee make anyway?
And look at where the merit money went:
"Out-of-state students get most UMass merit money" by Laura Krantz Globe Staff May 29, 2016
The University of Massachusetts’ flagship campus awarded $22 million in merit scholarships to out-of-state students last year, joining other public universities across the country in aggressively recruiting high-paying applicants.
The total far outstrips the $9.9 million in merit aid the UMass Amherst campus provided to in-state students, officials said.
Yup, it I$ all about MONEY!!!
To UMass Amherst chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, the calculus is simple. With out-of-state students paying roughly twice the amount of locals — $31,000 in annual tuition and fees versus about $14,000 — handing out a $7,600 scholarship is still a net positive in terms of the tuition revenue the school brings in from out-of-staters.
“Without the significant premium we get from out-of-state students, we wouldn’t be able to educate as many in-state students,” Subbaswamy said in an interview.
As state aid to public universities continues to decline across the country, the schools have turned to out-of-state students, who generally pay much more than their local counterparts, to stay competitive and prevent tuition increases for in-state residents.
Why is aid declining when the stock market is at new heights and we are told this economy is chugging along good?
But there is growing concern that the practice may have gone to far.
A study published last year by the think tank New America examined the growing trend of public universities issuing merit scholarships and found that schools that provide such aid to a larger share of their freshmen tend to enroll more out-of-state students.
That's one good thing about the Globe; they really make you think.
Another set of researchers last year found a correlation between an increased percentage of out-of-state students at public colleges and a decreased percentage of low-income students and underrepresented minority students.
“There’s definitely a sort of crowding-out effect,” said Bradley Curs, a professor at the University of Missouri who studied the out-of-state student phenomenon at 105 research universities....
They $ee you as $tudents, kids.
UMass defends merit aid for out-of-state students
UMass delays vote on tuition, fee increase
UMass claims $3.1m in ‘efficiency’ cuts
400 UMass Boston adjuncts are told contracts may not be renewed
UMass Lowell’s move forces out residents
My takeaways from all this is that UMass just can’t win, and that really ticks me off.
You can always go to Maine, kids.
UMass official hurt in Memorial Day crash dies
UMass official killed in crash ‘was always there for you’
Maybe you should just stay where you are:
"In latest push, Kraft eyes soccer stadium in Dorchester" by Shirley Leung and Laura Krantz Globe Staff June 21, 2016
Robert Kraft’s hunt for a new home for the New England Revolution has led him to hold talks about building a soccer stadium in Dorchester at the site of the former Bayside Expo Center, now owned by the University of Massachusetts.
Kraft, who owns both the Revolution and the New England Patriots, has for years wanted to move the Revolution out of Gillette Stadium in Foxborough and into a smaller facility designed for soccer. After considering properties in other parts of Boston, the billionaire has more recently focused on the Bayside site, according to people with knowledge of the discussions.
University officials have been in active discussions with Kraft but do not appear to be close to an agreement, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are ongoing.
UMass bought the Bayside Expo for $18.7 million in 2010, after the center went into foreclosure. The university is currently tearing down the exposition hall as part of its plan to expand the UMass Boston campus to that site.
Any deal would likely involve UMass offering a long-term lease for the land and Kraft paying to build the sports complex. A stadium would offer UMass a source of revenue at a time when the university system has nearly reached the limit in its ability to borrow money for major expansions. UMass Boston is also developing a sports management program, which could benefit from access to a professional team....
Yeah, $ports is the an$wer to all $ocial ills.
MLS trying to build the game
Kosciuszko Circle needs fixing, Kraft soccer stadium or not
Kraft’s plan for a Dorchester soccer stadium faces stiff competition
Was the Tom Brady freezer post a stunt?
If so, that's spooky.
Thank God it's Graduation Day:
"Twitter exec tells UMass Amherst grads to ‘hack the system’" by Laurie Loisel Globe Correspondent May 06, 2016
AMHERST — It’s not often that a commencement speaker admits to criminal activity and to dropping out of college, then encourages the graduates to “make your own rules, hack the system, and change the world.”
But graduation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Friday was anything but typical. It poured the entire time. So steady was the rain that many of the estimated 5,500 graduates had fled the stadium before tassels were moved from one side of mortarboard to the other.
Keynote speaker Wayne Chang, a Twitter executive, picked up an honorary doctorate in business even though he never earned his bachelor’s degree.
Chang, 32, dropped out of UMass Amherst a decade ago, after an unorthodox stint during which his insatiable curiosity nearly got him arrested. He told a story about hacking into the UMass computer system to get encrypted passwords, and then being brought in for questioning by the director of information security and a police officer.
“We know what you did,” they told him, he recounted during his speech. And then they told him they wouldn’t press charges if he told them how he hacked into the system.
Chang, now director of computer strategy at Twitter, urged UMass graduates to not be influenced by the judgments of others, noting he created software that he said is now in more than 10 million apps.
“How did a college dropout with no formal training or credentials do this? I didn’t let others define me,” he said.
Chang went to work at Twitter after it acquired Crashlytics, one of several companies he founded, for $100 million in 2013.
His path to that kind of success was not easy, he said. When he dropped out of college — to the consternation of his family — to start a risky tech startup, he felt like the black sheep of the family.
“People said it was crazy, it couldn’t be done, it wouldn’t work,” he told graduates. “Don’t let others box you in with their rules.”
He warned them that life after college would bring with it challenges they could never imagine now.
“You will be blindsided. You will be broken,” he said. But he urged them to remain true to themselves and the people who love them.
“You will find more satisfaction in giving and helping others,” he said.
Among those listening....
NDU: Fears of tuition hike grip Mass Boston
Tuition rises at Mass campuses
Protests coming this fall, or are they all playing Pokemon?
UMass budget hikes are terrible news for students
Just bu$ine$$ as usual.
Salaries of public college presidents continue to increase
Marty is making how much?
How much is UMass worth to the state?
Spat over Bayside expo sign deepens — down to tainted soil
Ex-student files $1M lawsuit against UMass-Lowell
UMass wins state, federal approval of natural hazard plans
That's out of this world!