Transcript of Chancellor's Remarks at Stockbridge Commencement

Prepared Remarks by Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy
Stockbridge School of Agriculture, University of Massachusetts Amherst
96th Commencement
May 12, 2018


Good morning! Welcome to the families and friends who join us for the 2018 Stockbridge School of Agriculture Commencement. It’s wonderful to have you all here.

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

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. 

I speak on behalf of the entire campus community when I thank you for continuing the strong tradition of the Stockbridge School. In recent years, UMass Amherst has moved up in the U.S. News & World Report national rankings by more than 20 places and is now ranked 29 among national public universities. And, in the rankings of top agricultural universities, UMass Amherst is 3rd in the country and 5th in the world.

Stockbridge has contributed to this success, and as a member of the school, your commitment to excellence has also played a role in our current momentum.  

This commitment demonstrated in all you do.

It was evident when graduates of Arboriculture & Community Forest Management volunteered throughout the commonwealth, pruning and planting trees at no cost to communities – and conducted street tree inventories to identify, catalogue, and assess the condition of thousands of municipal trees in cooperation with the local community tree warden.

Your commitment to excellence was evident last November when Landscape Contracting graduates helped install an extensive green roof on the west entry to the John Olver Design Building. And in March, several of you were part of the UMass National Collegiate Landscape Competition team, travelling to North Carolina to compete against 700 students from 70 colleges and universities from across the country. You placed first, second and third in five different landscape related events. Nine of you placed in the top 15 in the country in your respective events. Overall, the 13-member team placed 15th in the country. 

And, your commitment is seen in the Landscape Contracting senior project, resulting in the successful redesign and rebuilding of the center of the round-about at the end of Stockbridge Road. 

Your excellence is reflected in your ability to evolve and adapt, demonstrated this morning as we award the first online associates degree in Sustainable Food and Farming.

This excellence was recognized when our Turfgrass Management graduates participated in the National Collegiate Turf Bowl in Texas. This academic competition involves 53 teams from across the country – and your team placed in the top 20.

We see this commitment as two-thirds of our Equine Management graduates plan to continue their studies at the university in a wide range of disciplines – while others have already accepted positions at companies such as Smartpak, a multi-million dollar Equine company.  

This morning, as we confer degrees upon the Stockbridge School of Agriculture Class of 2018, we celebrate the success of our graduates, as they continue a proud 100 year tradition of achievement and excellence. 

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.

Congratulations Class of 2018! I am proud of you. Go forth and make the world a better place.  Thank you.