AMHERST, Mass. - The 79th Commencement of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the UMass was held May 26 in Bowker Auditorium on campus. Associate degrees were conferred on 115 students in six majors: arboriculture and park management; equine studies; fruit and vegetable crops; horticulture; landscape contracting; and turfgrass management.
The commencement speaker was Stockbridge Class of 1983 alumnus James B. Conant, golf course superintendent of the Country Club of Pittsfield. Conant said, "A lifelong commitment to education will give you a long and successful career." Conant urged graduates to join professional associations in order to continue their agriculture-based education, network with other professionals, and broaden their horizons. He urged graduates to make a commitment to their communities, as well. "Map out your own plan of commitment to your profession and community life, knowing that when you make that commitment, it will be easier for you to meet the challenges ahead."
In his remarks to graduates, Chancellor David K. Scott said, "We''re proud of Stockbridge and we''re proud of you." Scott thanked Stockbridge students for providing exceptional floral arrangements for many years to Hillside House, the chancellor''s official residence. He said that over the years he has seen, firsthand, the quality of work produced by Stockbridge students. "I give you my heartfelt congratulations for being outstanding graduates of an outstanding school."
Cora B. Marrett, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, spoke of the many noteworthy accomplishments of the Class of 2001, including awards at the Northeast Flower Show in Boston, and a silver medal in a national collegiate equestrian competition. "Behind the achievements are individuals, people we will remember."
Cleve Willis, dean of the College of Food and Natural Resources, talked of students he remembered from his teaching days, and told graduates that the faculty will remember them as much as they will remember the faculty. "The best [faculty] invest in you the moment you get here, and they won''t forget you." Willis also asked graduates to keep in touch with their teachers, to "let them know they matter."
Nancy L. Garrabrants, director of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture and a UMass alumna, gave special thanks to the chancellor for his years of support, and to the provost, who "will be forever in our hearts." President William M. Bulger awarded the degrees. He said the Constitution of the Commonwealth says we should place a high value on education. He said Stockbridge School, in his opinion, "produces the most cheerful, splendid students in the entire University." Bulger said, "The Class of 2001 has earned its place in the sun and who will be more in the sun than yourselves."