Skip to main content

Chancellor Subbaswamy Addresses 2013 Stockbridge School Commencement

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Kumble R. Subbaswamy, Chancellor of UMass Amherst, addresses the Stockbridge School Commencement on May 11, 2013 in Bowker Auditorium


Good morning, Stockbridge graduates, families, friends, faculty, staff, alumni, and advocates!

Of all the commencement celebrations on campus, yours is the last, the smallest, and, from what I hear, the most tight-knit. Which befits Stockbridge as being, in many ways, the innermost core of our campus. For those of you in arboriculture and forest management, I would say Stockbridge is like the heartwood of the tree that is UMass Amherst. This year, as we celebrate our sesquicentennial, we can see how much our campus has grown outward from the original agricultural core of the old “Mass Aggie,” much like rings on a tree. You really started it all, setting into motion the high standards that are our hallmarks as a flagship university.

Stockbridge graduates are the agricultural leaders of our future. I have noticed that you call many of your disciplines “green industries.” I have the utmost confidence that you will lead the way toward a more sustainable tomorrow. As farmers, horticulturalists, turf managers, and animal scientists, you are more critical than ever to helping our human society maintain a healthy ecological balance on the planet.

This is a historical year not only for UMass Amherst, but also for the Stockbridge School itself. Much has changed at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. You are now officially a “school within a college,” with all the honors and distinction that bestows. Your faculty members have specialties as diverse as fruits, vegetables, horses, physiology, entomology, pathology, molecular biology, and sustainability.

Yours is the very first graduating class to include bachelor of science students in these important new majors…. Would you cheer when I call yours?
Sustainable Food & Farming…
Sustainable Horticulture…
and Turfgrass Science and Management.
For the first time in its history, Stockbridge offers graduate education, research, and extension outreach. And in a sign of its perennial versatility, Stockbridge continues to offer its classic associate’s degree programs with care and enthusiasm. Would those receiving associate’s degrees please give a cheer?

One of the most exciting events for me during Founders Week was breaking ground for the new Agricultural Center in Wysocki-Adams Field. Many alumni have related to me their fond memories of the Percheron horses in the old Horse Barn. I am proud to say that the barn is being repurposed, as a learning laboratory for every branch of agriculture native to Massachusetts. It is going to be a showpiece for the entire Commonwealth.

Agriculture is key to human survival. It makes me happy to know that you take your mission utterly seriously, while at the same time you approach your work with good will, camaraderie, and hearts full of spirit. And, as you well know, the Stockbridge School definitely has the most loyal alumni! You have maintained your independent spirit over the fifteen decades of our history. You embody the pure principle of our land-grant mission, put into practice every day with your boots in the mud and your hands in the dirt. Stockbridge is helping UMass Amherst lead the way to a sustainable, food-secure future. I am proud to be your Chancellor. Congratulations, graduates! Go, UMASS!