On Thursday, March 9, Commonwealth Honors College celebrated 889 members of the University of Massachusetts Amherst class of 2019 who graduated with honors distinction at this year’s Celebration of Excellence. Within the graduating class are three Fulbright Scholars, one Churchill scholar, one Luce Scholarship National finalist, one ThinkSwiss scholar, seven 21st Century Leader Awards, and eleven Rising Researchers.
The ceremony, held in the Mullins Center, included recognition and remarks from university leaders such as Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and Provost John McCarthy. Commonwealth Honors College students were given a gold stole, which signifies the dedication, curiosity, and ambition students utilized to reach this point, as well as the value of their achievements.
Commonwealth Honors College Dean Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina welcomed students, family members, and faculty to the Celebration of Excellence. “Graduates, as you go forward, remember the insights you've gained here, the triumph of figuring out problems that, at first, may have seemed daunting,” Dean Gerzina said. “Remember, too, the friendships you've formed, and the opportunities you've pursued here. You have contributed to university life and now it is time to share your ideas and your talents with broader communities… You are an unstoppable force!”
Chancellor Subbaswamy also prepared remarks for the graduating class. “As you prepare to leave us and make your way in the world, I ask that you always carry with you the essence of your gold stole. Always remember the commitment to excellence, intellectual exploration, and pursuit of truth that brought you here this evening.”
Deepika Singh, a political science and Middle Eastern studies double major, was selected for this year’s student speaker. In her address, Deepika recognized Commonwealth Honors College for stimulating her intellectual curiosity and for providing Deepika her “shoal”: “[T]oday, I just wanted to thank all of you. Thanks for teaching me what excellence means, and thanks for teaching me how exciting discovery can be. Thanks for teaching me to be inquisitive and ever questioning and, most of all, thank you so very much for being my shoal.”