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Actress Natalie Portman addresses an audience during Harvard College's Class Day, Wednesday, May 27, 2015, on the campus of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass. Portman, a 2003 Harvard graduate, was the 2015 Class Day speaker for Harvard College. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Portman tells new Harvard graduates to take chances

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

CAMBRIDGE — Natalie Portman advised graduating Harvard seniors Wednesday to use their inexperience to their advantage, saying she has learned that taking calculated risks can lead to life-changing rewards. The Academy Award-winning actress, speaking at Harvard College’s Class Day, cited her work in “Black Swan” as an example of a time she didn’t know her own limitations — and it …

Restoration of Smith College’s Grécourt Gates part of a six-month renovation at West  and Elm streets

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — A $1.5 million project is underway at Smith College to improve pedestrian safety and accessibility at West and Elm streets, and to refurbish the college’s historic Grécourt Gates. The construction project — expected to last six months — has been in the planning phase since 2011, said Sam Masinter, Smith’s director …

Filmmaker Waters to receive honorary degree from RISD

Monday, May 25, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — When the Rhode Island School of Design offered iconic filmmaker John Waters an honorary degree, he was surprised. After all, he got thrown out of every school he ever went to. Known for quirky films that push the boundaries of good taste, including 1972’s outrageous cult classic “Pink Flamingos,” …

Gates shares views of US power in Amherst talk

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

AMHERST — As he reflected on his five years as U.S. secretary of defense, Robert Gates emphasized that the nation needs to be selective about when and where it sends its citizens into battle. If the United States …

Nepali students in Valley band together for support

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Smith College senior Pratistha Bhattarai was having a Skype conversation with her parents in Kathmandu, Nepal, when Saturday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake caused them to flee their home. Bhattarai, 22, stayed glued to her screen for 40 …

Greenfield Community College aims for inclusion with deaf students in Outdoor Leadership Program

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

GREENFIELD — Sliding down an anchored rope, Lauren Sprague of Grafton rappelled down a tall tree behind Greenfield Community College to Peter Botsford, who was hung up, swinging in the air. In moments, Sprague attached Botsford to her …

New program at UMass helps students with disabilities transition to campus life

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — University of Massachusetts student Brian Krutzler looked good and he knew it. He went classic for the April 10 prom on the 11th floor of the Campus Center: black tuxedo, crisp white dress shirt, black bow …

Valley residents with links to Nepal urge help for relief work

Monday, April 27, 2015

AMHERST — Kabindra Man Shakya, a Nepalese postdoctoral student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, found out about the earthquake that devastated his country when he received a call from his wife’s family at 4 a.m. Saturday. “At …

Storied NYC college awaits results of AG’s finance probe

Monday, April 27, 2015

NEW YORK — First came a hotly debated decision by Cooper Union to start charging its students after being tuition-free for generations. Then came an investigation by the state attorney general into the school’s management of its finances. Over the past year, Cooper Union’s reputation as a world-class …

TEDx at UMass explores ‘pioneering’ as event expands; 12 speakers reach audience of over 700

Saturday, April 25, 2015

AMHERST — Speakers at the largest TEDx event convened at the University of Massachusetts explored the theme of pioneering Saturday, defined this way by the event’s chief curator, Nicole Malinowski: “to develop or be the first to use …

UMass engineering seniors’ year-end projects tackle issues like guiding the blind, treating post-traumatic stress

Friday, April 24, 2015

AMHERST — Can police chest cameras turn on automatically during an arrest? Can Blue Tooth technology help the blind navigate through their day? Can a device worn by soldiers help doctors treat them for post-traumatic stress disorder when …

Rally at UMass calls attention to student debt resulting from loans

Thursday, April 23, 2015

AMHERST — As 100 or so prospective students and families made their way past the University of Massachusetts Amherst student union Thursday, a circle of current students wearing signs with messages such as, “You are not a loan,” …

Smith College commencement speeches to be offered in Mandarin, Spanish translations

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — At least 130 friends and family members of the graduating Smith College class of 2015 will be the first to pilot the college’s new simultaneous translation service at commencement next month. The May 17 event will be translated into Spanish and Mandarin by live translators working …