Ethnic GEM In the Making: Solomon Ugbane

School: UMass Lowell
: Mechanical Engineering

Solomon Ugbane has spent more than six years studying at UMass Lowell, first earning an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and now a master’s degree. 

During that time, half a world away from his home in Nigeria, he has grown and changed — and so has the university. So Ugbane feels an affinity with the university, and he believes he has a story to tell about hard work and inspiration. He will get that chance as one of two students selected to speak at Commencement.


“Never despise your little beginnings, because you never know where those beginnings can take you,” he says. Ugbane learned that lesson from his father, who grew up dirt-poor but was so passionate about getting an education that he worked on a farm to pay for school, then walked two miles each way to get there. 

While Ugbane has been more fortunate, he has still faced challenges earning his degrees. He has learned to seek out help and persist after failures, while reminding himself of all the great men like Walt Disney, Morgan Freeman and Abraham Lincoln who experienced major setbacks before achieving their goals.

“Great people have seen an enormous amount of failure. When you’re down, it’s a sign that progress is bound to come,” he says. One of his biggest achievements so far is being selected from among a crowd of applicants to deliver his speech before thousands of proud grads and their families, university administrators and faculty. “I was ecstatic,” he says. “It was the best feeling, one of the biggest morale boosters.”

Ugbane spoke at the graduation ceremony, but he hasn’t told his family about the honor. He actually surprised his mother, sister, aunt and uncle, who were in the audience.

Remember the name of this humble young man, Solomon Ugbane as he grows into becoming the next STEM professional as a “Mechanical Engineer”

Ethnic Online is proud to feature Solomon Ugbane as an Ethnic GEM in the Making!

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