AMHERST, Mass. – At the 96th commencement of 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, 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 14 graduates in arboriculture and community forest management, 9 in equine management, two in sustainable food and farming, two in sustainable horticulture, seven in landscape contracting and two in turfgrass management.
Wesley R. Autio, director of the Stockbridge School, presided at the ceremony along with UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy and Tricia R. Serio, dean of the College of Natural Sciences.
Serio told the graduates that in her first year as dean, she has heard from the students and alumni of Stockbridge, more than any other group, about how their experiences here have transformed their lives.
She said many share the dream of owning their own farm. “I’m humbled that we’ve had the opportunity to contribute to their education in support of those aspirations,” she said.
Alumni of many Stockbridge programs, including turfgrass management and arboriculture and community forest management, have told her how their Stockbridge education has opened doors in their lives that they could never have imagined.
She told the Class of 2018, “Beyond the in-depth and hands-on knowledge that you’ve gained during your studies in the Stockbridge School, you have also developed a new window into how the world works that you’ve never had before. … and I have no doubt that this new perspective will propel you to change the world for the better.
Subbaswamy told the graduates, “Your commencement carries a special significance for the university. As we know, the “Two-year Course in Practical Agriculture” began in 1918 and was later named the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. Over the years, we have evolved, and while the school now includes a bachelor’s program, graduate education and research, as evident in the graduating class we recognize today, our early commitment to the original Two-Year Course of study remains strong – and this morning, we are thrilled to celebrate your commencement as part of the 100th anniversary of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture.”
He added, “I thank our graduates for their proven commitment to the university and their fields of study – and I look forward to hearing of your future success. And, please, remain an active member of the UMass family. Visit often. We will be here, ready to welcome you back.”
Both Serio 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.