Message from Associate Provost Joseph Bartolomeo


A photo of the Bachelor's Degree with Individual Concentration logo with the years 1970-2020 on either side.

One of the poems often recited or referred to at commencements is Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” with special emphasis on the final lines: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I/I took the road less traveled by/And that has made all the difference.” There are usually several problems with using this poem on this occasion. First, the final lines are contradicted earlier in the poem, when the speaker says that the roads were really worn just about the same. This has led some to interpret the poem as interrogating—and chuckling at—the way we remember and ascribe significance to turning points. It also seems odd to cite these lines to audiences in which many have followed a very conventional academic path.  Here, however, Frost’s concluding words are relevant and appropriate. All of you have taken the less traveled—and more risky—road, charting your own way through UMass and creating unique courses of study that should serve you well in a world that increasingly demands and rewards interdisciplinary thinking. Unlike Frost’s traveler, you haven’t had to take the journey alone, but have benefited from advice and support from Tom, Rebecca, Linda, the faculty and peer advisors, and each other. This combination of personal initiative and a sustaining community is the hallmark of BDIC, and I hope you can all continue to experience it along the many roads, byways, and detours ahead. Congratulations and bon voyage!