AMHERST, Mass. – At the 97th commencement for 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 in the school’s 100th anniversary year.
Degrees were awarded to seven graduates in arboriculture and community forest management, five in equine management, two in sustainable food and farming, four in sustainable horticulture, six in landscape contracting and six in turfgrass management.
Wesley R. Autio, director of the Stockbridge School, presided over the ceremony, which featured remarks by John J. McCarthy, UMass Amherst provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and Tricia R. Serio, dean of the College of Natural Sciences.
“The importance of agriculturally related disciplines plays an ever-increasing role in the health and well-being of society,” McCarthy told the graduates. “In our quickly changing, increasingly complicated world, more so than ever, we need the competitive excellence that runs through Stockbridge graduates as we address the environmental and agriculture challenges of our times.
“With one hundred years of history, knowledge and expertise woven into your university education, I know you are well-prepared to meet these new challenges,” he added. “On behalf of the entire campus community, I thank you for your commitment to excellence. You have made our university a better place – and I know you will make the world a better place, too.”
In her remarks to the graduates, Serio highlighted the accomplishments and feeling of family that Stockbridge School alumni have shared for a century.
Serio said, “This fall we celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding, and today you will leave this ceremony as the most recent alumni, joining more than 10,000 Stockies who have come before you.” She observed that the graduates’ education has been both a rigorous and practical one. More than 85 percent of Stockbridge students conduct an internship or other field work by the time they graduate, and 90 percent of Stockbridge graduates remain in Massachusetts and contribute to nearly $3 billion in economic impact through our green industries.”
Both Serio and McCarthy 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.