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Chancellor Subbaswamy Addresses 2013 Undergraduate Commencement

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Kumble R. Subbaswamy, Chancellor of UMass Amherst addresses the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony, May 10, 2013 at McGuirk Alumni Stadium


Congratulations to the University of Massachusetts Amherst Class of 2013! Give yourselves a great round of applause!

Today we send you forth from this Pioneer Valley, to become pioneers in your fields of work, study, and invention. And we do so with great confidence in your ability to touch lives in communities near and far. For 150 years, UMass Amherst students have been bright, bold, unconventional thinkers. You carry that flagship legacy forward with you to make an impact in the wider world.

This is a special commencement for UMass Amherst because you are the graduating class of our sesquicentennial year. Behind you is the power of fifteen decades of study, research, advocacy for higher education, innovation on behalf of the common good, and sheer collective effort!

I mean it when I say that we as a university send you forth with confidence. I have the utmost faith in what you will accomplish in the world beyond our campus. I can say that because you are already involved with that world.

To some extent, what we are all grappling with is change: throughout society, and personally. Your generation must be globally aware, technologically savvy, and adaptable in completely new ways. From what you have shown me this year alone, I believe you are up to any challenge. You have shown dedication as humanitarian advocates, policy aficionados, entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, and teachers. You have an awareness that the future depends on you. Many of the advances in sustainability we have implemented on this campus are due in a large part to your dedication and commitment to seeing them through. And to future generations of UMass students, you have already shown a tremendous esprit de corps with your class gift to restore the Old Chapel to its former glory.

When the Old Stone Chapel was built (—it wasn’t always old, by the way!—), it gave our campus a heart. You can imagine all the Chapel has seen over the years from its high vantage. You, hustling alongside the Campus Pond texting and hurrying to meet your friends at the Blue Wall. Slackliners. Rope pulls. War protests. The Minuteman Marching Band! Civil rights rallies. Sock hops on the lawn. Personal moments as well as historical moments, all the way back to farm boys getting out of their gigs to attend their first classes at Mass Aggie.

As we celebrate our Sesquicentennial year, we realize that the life of this university campus is made up of countless individual moments. The moments of your life on campus, both random and purposeful, have magnified the power and impact of UMass Amherst in the world. You have contributed to the momentum that will carry us to our three-hundredth anniversary.

Not only have you inherited, but you have helped to create a legacy of education for the common good, of innovation and enterprise that is of benefit to all people. You are beneficiaries of the past and benefactors of the future. That ongoing legacy is the foundation of the University of Massachusetts. Over the decades to come, you will add considerably to that legacy.

UMass Amherst stands for the hopes, the ambitions, the bold experiments and innovative solutions of the people of the Commonwealth and the world beyond. Our alumni constitute a global network of extraordinary influence. Everything that you go forth to do shines back on us.

So, as I send you on your way, I have to invite you back. Please come back to see us. We want you to visit often. The Old Chapel will be waiting for you. And we want your children to come here! On their Commencement day, you can sit in the stands and beam with pride for them, as your families are doing for you, right at this moment.

So on behalf of this campus, on behalf of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, of which you will always be a part, and with all the applause that is your due, I send you into the world with our favorite charge, in the name of your alma mater: GO UMASS!