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Chancellor Subbaswamy's Remarks at Stockbridge School Commencement

Remarks delivered by UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture Commencement on May 10, 2014 in Bowker Auditorium on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Good morning! Welcome to all of our families and friends. And to our graduates, congratulations!

The Stockbridge School of Agriculture is at the heart and soul of our university. As one of the oldest and most prestigious agricultural programs in North America, it embodies the university’s history as a land grant campus. At the same time, the school is exponentially evolving, as it rises to meet the need for expertise in sustainable local, national, and global agriculture. It is this balance between a strong sense of history and an insistence on innovation and impact that makes the Stockbridge School of Agriculture such a valued part of UMass Amherst.

And as we all know, Stockbridge students are a special breed. Using a combination of research-based knowledge and hands-on expertise, they work to make the world a more sustainable and beautiful place.

This graduating class is no exception and I would like to take a few moments to share some examples of their recent contributions:

  • Landscape Contracting seniors, under the tutelage of their advisor Mike Davidsohn, are designing and installing a garden in front of Draper Hall, home to the Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
  • Members of the Student Board of Directors organized and implemented various beautification projects, including the Hadley Farm and the Town of Amherst daffodil plantings.
  • At the annual national Turf Bowl competition, Stockbridge seniors placed 27th out of 71 teams.
  • Arboriculture and Community Forest Management students, along with alumni, worked for a day of service in cooperation with the Town of Amherst Tree Warden as part of the Massachusetts Arborist Association Arbor Day. They also beautified the Clark Memorial Garden on campus as part of Arbor Day.
  • Stockbridge students participated in the Professional Landscape Network Student Career Days – a national competition and networking event. This year, 750 students representing 65 schools competed. Team Stockbridge took 1st place in the arbor competition and 3rd place in plant installation.
  • Equine Management seniors successfully ran the Stockbridge Stables, the boarding facility for horses at the Hadley Farm. It was the first year of operation for the Stockbridge Stables.

As evident from this list of accolades, the Class of 2014 is clearly poised for future success.

And as the agricultural leaders of our future, you are more critical than ever to maintaining a healthy ecological balance on the planet.

Thank you for the work you are setting off to do. I am proud of you and I sleep better at night knowing that you’re working for a more sustainable tomorrow.

Please return to campus often. You will always be a part of the UMass Amherst community and I want to hear of your successes.

Thank you and congratulations!