AMHERST, Mass. - At the 90th commencement for the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, speakers told graduates they will become stewards of the world through their chosen professions as well as the latest addition to a longstanding family of graduates who support each other. The students in six majors received associate of science degrees in Bowker Auditorium today.
Degrees were awarded to eight graduates in arboriculture and community forest management, six in equine industries, five in fruit and vegetable crops, 11 in horticulture, 12 in landscape contracting and 21 in turfgrass management.
William L. Mitchell, director of the Stockbridge School, presided at the ceremony along with Robert C. Holub, UMass Amherst chancellor, and Steve Goodwin, dean of the College of Natural Sciences.
Holub told the graduates the school’s roots trace back to the founding of the university, which was originally called Massachusetts Agricultural College. It still plays a central role in the workings of UMass Amherst, Holub told them. "Stockbridge is the heart of this university," Holub said. "Everything else that we do, everything else that we are, evolved outward from this core. If we were to strip everything else away, what underlies every aspect of our mission as an institution is a basic concern with elevating the quality of human life--which includes in the first instance making sure that people are fed and well nourished, and can live sustainably within their environment."
He concluded by saying, "The fields that lie ahead of you are boundless and borderless. The possibilities of the whole world are open to you. Now is your moment to make the world a better place from the ground up. Come back when you need to reconnect, and know that I could not be prouder of this school and everything it has accomplished."
Holub also noted that UMass Amherst is in the forefront of the green movement and is one of the nation’s leading universities in green energy technology and environmentally friendly policies. The Stockbridge School, he told the graduates, plays a key role in those accomplishments.