Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy: Remarks at Undergraduate Commencement

Remarks by Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy
148th Undergraduate Commencement of the University of Massachusetts Amherst
Friday, May 11, 2018
McGuirk Alumni Stadium, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Good afternoon and welcome to the 148th Undergraduate Commencement of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

It is an honor to share the platform with our distinguished guests.

I would also like to extend an especially warm welcome to all the families and friends who have joined us here today for this momentous and joyful occasion.

And, of course, “Congratulations to the Class of 2018!”

This afternoon, we celebrate the successful conclusion of a significant part of your lifelong intellectual exploration. You have met the academic rigors of the university across a breathtaking array of more than 100 Baccalaureate degree programs. From astronomy to Afro-American Studies to architecture – and that’s just a sampling beginning with the letter “A” – all of you have proven proficient in your chosen field of study.

You also fulfilled the General Education requirements of the university– an additional path of study we require to ensure you are exposed to a variety of disciplines and perspectives beyond your chosen major.  Perhaps one or two of your Gen Eds caused you consternation, and even threatened your GPA. Some offered a welcomed break from the focus on your major. And for some of you, one of these classes ignited a previously unknown intellectual passion, changing the course of your academic path at the university.

On any given day, after leaving a Gen Ed class, you walked through the Campus Center concourse, lined with tables as your peers welcomed you to join their community service initiative, participate in a particular political affiliation, or become involved in a social or cultural group.

Eventually, you arrived back at your residential hall, where you shared living quarters with peers from throughout the commonwealth, across the nation, and around world.

Today, as we celebrate your academic achievement, I ask that you always remember the diversity of ideas, people and perspectives that surrounded you at UMass

Remember you made it through your Gen Eds and you are a more informed person for the effort. You’ll find life offers its own version of Gen Eds – accept those challenges and continue to grow.  

Remember walking through the campus center concourse, surrounded by groups of peers with varying interests and perspectives, competing for your attention – and remember they all shared the space with civility and respect.

Remember the experience of living in a residence hall with others who did not share your background – remember you found common ground as students on a shared academic journey.

Remember, the intellectual journey that successfully brought you here today – and build on your university experiences to view each day as an opportunity for continued growth and exploration.  

Class of 2018 – can you do that for me?

Good! And, since I’m on a roll, I have one more request.

Stay in touch – come back and visit campus often. You haven’t even officially graduated and you are already an inspiring group of alumni. I would like to share with everyone here today that the Class of 2018 is on track to have the highest participation in a senior campaign in the history of the university.

That’s quite an auspicious start for our newest alums.

I am proud of you all. Go forth, lead a good life and make the world a better place.