AMHERST, Mass. – At the 91st 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 long standing family of graduates who support each other. The students in six majors received associate of science degrees and bachelor’s degree of science in Bowker Auditorium today.
Degrees were awarded to 14 graduates in arboriculture and community forest management, 12 in equine industries, seven in sustainable food and farming, 12 in sustainable horticulture, 15 in landscape contracting and 20 in turfgrass management.
Wesley R. Autio, director of the Stockbridge School, presided at the ceremony along with UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy, and Steve Goodwin, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. In his remarks to the graduates, Goodwin said they are going out into a world where there is a critical need for professionals to create and maintain sustainable farms, sustainable foods and a sustainable landscape. He also urged the graduates to take a moment amid their celebrations to thank parents, friends and others who supported them in reaching their goals.
Subbaswamy told the graduates the school’s roots trace back to the founding of the university, which was originally called Massachusetts Agricultural College. “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.”
He told the graduates, “One of the most exciting events for me during Founders Week was breaking ground for the new Agricultural Center in Wysocki-Adams Field.” He said many alumni told him about their fond memories of the Percheron horses in the old Horse Barn, adding that the historic barn is being repurposed, as a learning laboratory.
“As you well know, the Stockbridge School definitely has the most loyal alumni. You have maintained your independent spirit over the 15 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,” Subbaswamy told the graduates.
Both Goodwin and Subbaswamy 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, they told the graduates, plays a key role in those accomplishments.