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Neal to get honorary degree at MCLA commencement

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NORTH ADAMS — The county's congressman will be among those to receive an honorary degree from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in May.

The college announced Tuesday that it will award U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, and former North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright honorary Doctor of Public Service degrees at the annual commencement ceremony May 18.

Shirley Edgerton, director of Youth Alive, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

"We are thrilled that Congressman Richard Neal, Richard Alcombright, and Shirley Edgerton will join us at our 120th Commencement, as we honor them for their remarkable contributions to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Berkshires, and North Adams. The examples they have set will inspire our Class of 2019, as these new graduates embark upon this next step of their lives," MCLA President James Birge said in a statement.

Neal, a native of Springfield, has served in the House of Representatives since 1989 and now chairs the House Ways and Means Committee.

Alcombright helmed the city of North Adams through four terms from 2010 to 2017, after which he became the vice president, local business and customer relations manager at MountainOne.

Edgerton is the director of Youth Alive, a step dance program aimed at engaging young women, and is the cultural proficiency coach for Pittsfield Public Schools.

In addition to Neal, "we also will be pleased to honor former North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright, who is a longtime, avid supporter of MCLA, and Shirley Edgerton, an educator, manager, public speaker, and community activist who, through her varied roles, has benefited countless residents of the Berkshires," said MCLA Board of Trustees Chair Denise Marshall.

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