Remarks delivered by UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy at the Graduate School Commencement on May 9, 2014 at the Mullins Center on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Good morning and congratulations!
Today, as I look out at all of you, I sense excitement, pride, relief – and maybe exhaustion. All of it is well deserved. Each one of you has spent the past recent years exploring your individual academic interests, and today we celebrate your stellar accomplishments.
We also celebrate a common thread that runs through each one of you, irrespective of discipline: collectively, you all share a spirit of intellectual drive and enthusiasm. This spirit is required of the successful graduate student, for it is never easy to pursue a post-baccalaureate degree. For many of you, “life happened” in the space between receiving your bachelor’s degree and the decision to pursue a graduate degree. Life partners were met and commitments made. Maybe you had a child…or two. You may have had a job that provided financial security. Many of you probably cherished Sunday afternoons – when the only required reading was the newspaper.
Regardless of the circumstances or the specifics, each one of you made the decision to push yourself to the next academic and intellectual level. It required compromise with loved ones and perhaps financial insecurity. It meant choosing studying over socializing. At times, I am sure each one of you doubted your decision, wondering why you voluntarily brought these sacrifices into your life. But always, your spirit found the strength to tap back into your intellectual drive and enthusiasm, and you stayed on track. And you did it. Each one of you is here today because you did it. It’s tremendous. And I congratulate you.
I would also like to offer a “shout out” to your support team: the family, friends, and faculty who recognized your spirit and drive, and over the years have helped you achieve your goals. They all deserve to bask in your success today. We must also acknowledge the critical support of your advisors. A few years further along than you in the academic journey, they share your intellectual drive and enthusiasm and have chosen to encourage the next generation. Through their efforts, your advisors honor you and acknowledge you as the future caretakers of your discipline.
Soon, you will be alumni of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As the flagship campus of the commonwealth, and a nationally recognized research university, we celebrate the power of ideas in theory and practice. The success each one of you has achieved is the heart and soul that replenishes our strength. The sacrifices you made, the passion you brought to your work and the contribution you made to your discipline – all of these efforts define you as an individual. Collectively, they define the excellence of the university.
I thank each one of you, then, for having the drive and the enthusiasm to harness your intellectual ambition and bring your academic career to the next level. Your achievements bring great honor to yourselves and to the university.
Thank you, congratulations and Go UMass!