Congratulations Massachusetts Class of 2015 College Graduates

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(Northeastern University 2015 Commencement. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University.)

It is commencement season in Massachusetts this spring, a joyous time of year for students graduating from any of the 110 public or private colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. Congratulations to the 110,000+ student graduates in the Massachusetts Class of 2015 and to their families and professors too!

Massachusetts takes pride in its outstanding colleges and universities, medical centers and research facilities that attract students from around the world as well as local residents. Today, nearly 40% of Massachusetts residents have a college degree, giving it the highest percentage of college graduates in the nation, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts (AICUM) reports that Massachusetts ranks first in the nation in percentage of students graduating from independent colleges in four years. Independent schools have a $25 billion annual economic impact on Massachusetts.

In addition to the private colleges, Massachusetts serves about 260,000 students at 29 public schools including 15 community colleges, nine state universities and five University of Massachusetts campuses, according to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. Here is a full list of Massachusetts’ public colleges and universities.

Commencement season is also an opportunity for society’s leaders and achievers to impart wisdom to the young generation of graduates. Among this year’s commencement speakers:

Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts
Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, May 16
Suffolk University, College of Arts & Sciences, May 17

Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr., the first African American astronaut to walk in space
Worcester Polytechnic University, May 16

Regina McCarthy, Administrator of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
University of Massachusetts/Boston, May 29

Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer of the United States
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 5

The influx of proud family members in town for the graduates also provides a welcome bump to the state’s hospitality industry, especially hotels and restaurants but also tourist attractions like museums, sports and cultural venues and gift shops. The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB) estimates that this year’s graduations draw about 350,000 visitors to the state.

The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism has compiled a list of all colleges and universities in Massachusetts, separated by region. You’ll find information about the schools, and also valuable information about local transportation, seasonal activities, and special events that give you a flavor of each school. It’s a great resource for parents making their first trip to Massachusetts to explore potential colleges and universities for their children.