AMHERST, Mass. – At the 95th commencement for the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, speakers told the 47 graduates they will become stewards of the world through their chosen professions, leaders in the sustainability movement and the latest proud addition to a long-standing 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 13 graduates in arboriculture and community forest management, 12 in equine management, five in sustainable food and farming, three in sustainable horticulture, nine in landscape contracting and five 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 their parents, friends and others who supported them in reaching their goals.
Subbaswamy told the graduates, “Through your commitment, you have prepared yourselves to meet the new needs of agriculture as they emerge in the years ahead. And in doing so, you have contributed to the historic success of Stockbridge and the entire university. Now, you ready to head off into the world. I know you will be busy. The role of agriculturally related disciplines is every bit as critical today as it was at the inception of the university in 1863.”
He added, “You connect us to our past and you ensure our future. So, as you make your way in the world, remember that Stockbridge alums, as a whole, are a loyal group and I ask you to continue this tradition: Stay in touch with your classmates and come back and visit campus as often you can.”
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 maintaining those accomplishments.