Stockbridge School Holds 80th Commencement

AMHERST, Mass. - Bowker Auditorium at the University of Massachusetts was bedecked with red, white, and blue flowers for the 80th Commencement of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture this afternoon, May 25. Associate degrees were conferred on 115 students in six majors: arboriculture and park management; equine industries; fruit and vegetable crops; horticulture; landscape contracting; and turfgrass management.

In remarks to the graduates, Chancellor Marcellette G. Williams expressed gratitude to the members of the Class of 2002 for their service to the University by working to beautify the campus. She thanked them for pruning trees, planting perennials, and constructing sitting areas. Williams noted this year''s traditional class gift of a tree: a dragon''s eye red pine tree, planted to the north of South College. "The University has benefited by your contributions to the campus landscape," she said.

Keynote speaker was Kirsten Lundgren Brodie, a member of the Stockbridge Class of 1991, and University alumna. Lundgren, a member of the first graduating class in equine industries at Stockbridge, advised the graduates to pursue their dreams. "Be courageous in your quest to reach your field of dreams," she said. "Experience life hands-on."

Nancy L. Garrabrants, UMass alumna and director of the Stockbridge School, presided at the ceremonies. Cleve E. Willis, dean of the College of Food and Natural Resources, told the graduates, "Congratulations. Celebrate. Keep in touch." Deputy Provost John Cunningham instructed them to "Take what you''ve learned to your professions. Take who you are into your community. And make a difference."

During the presentation of the diplomas, Michael Davidsohn, coordinator for the landscape contracting program, paid tribute to Joshua Paul Snyder, of Adams, a member of the Class of 2002, who was killed in an automobile accident May 11. Snyder''s family attended today''s ceremonies, and Noah Snyder accepted his brother''s diploma, as Joshua''s classmates offered a standing ovation.

Garrabrants also recognized three individuals at Stockbridge who have announced plans to retire: faculty members William J. Bramlage, plant and soil sciences, and Thomas F. Houston, natural resources conservation, and James B. Marcum, associate dean for the College of Food and Natural Resources.

Several students also received awards during the program, including the John W. Denison and Roland H. Verbeck awards, and the members of the LEAR Society, the Stockbridge honor society, were also recognized.