Springfield College held its Baccalaureate ceremony on the afternoon of Saturday, May 14, in the Wellness and Recreation Complex Field House located on the main campus. Baccalaureate is an annual Springfield College tradition held on the day before the undergraduate commencement to honor the graduating senior class. It is a student-led ceremony designed to celebrate the spirit, mind, and body. Hundreds of graduates and their families attended this very memorable part of the Commencement weekend activities.
Delivering the Baccalaureate address was long-time Springfield College Assistant Professor of Physical Education and Women’s Basketball Head Coach Naomi Graves. Graves has spent more than 30 years at the College, and has helped build the women's basketball program into one of the best programs in the country.
“Class of 2022, you are a very special and resilient group,” said Graves. “Don’t let anyone take that away from you. You stayed the course, you have sacrificed a lot, you adjusted during some very tough times, and overall, you acted with such kindness and compassion to others.”
Graves explained that the Class of 2022 has reminded her of so many life lessons including: being resilient, following your passion, life is about the little things, showing up for each other, and using our Humanics philosophy as a guiding light.
“With the different championship teams I have coached, I could always tell early on that a particular group was special, it was in their DNA,” added Graves, who has accumulated more than 500 wins in her impressive coaching career. “The Class of 2022 you could tell was special, they have earned their championship of graduating from Springfield College. They have demonstrated so much heart, and the students in this class taught us it’s ok to show your feelings, and it’s so important to make connections with others.”
Graves went on to describe the Class of 2022 journey and how it will impact the campus community moving forward.
“The journey over the last four years has brought us all together,” added Graves. “The Class of 2022 defines the definition of being resilient, and this group always displayed the strength in supporting each other. We all believe in this class, and we encourage them to remain confident and resilient.”
Graves was introduced by Class of 2022 President Arianna Susi, who also served as the manager for the women’s basketball team. Susi was part of the women’s basketball team’s magical ride to the NCAA Sweet 16 tournament this past March.
“It’s an honor and privilege to introduce coach Graves, someone I respect and admire so much,” said Susi. “She truly is such a special person, and she has always been there for us as students.”
The Baccalaureate ceremony began with the invocation and welcome, delivered by Springfield College physician assistant major Hailey Placido, who detailed her transition to life at Springfield College.
“As a first-generation student, the college experience was new to my family, but as soon as I stepped on the Springfield College campus, I had all of the support and resources I needed to become the student-leader I am today,” said Placido. “Springfield College has also taught us the meaning of service to others and how powerful that can be.”
Placido added, “Our class has demonstrated leadership abilities to help transform lives and communities. Springfield College students have fought for social justice, women’s rights, LGBQT rights, and pushed for peace at times of war. We leave Springfield College as educated individuals, as better people, and we leave here set out to do what we do best, provide leadership in service to humanity.”
Followed by Placido’s opening, Springfield College President Mary-Beth A. Cooper welcomed the Class of 2022 and their families to the campus for one last memorable ceremony.
“I am proud to be your president at Springfield College,” said Cooper. “Remember to always bet on yourself, I am so proud of all of you, and you always have a home at Springfield College.”
The Springfield College Senior Dancers led by Victoria Baker, Cynthia Duran, Troi Marshall, Elaine Ortiz, and Gabriela Penarrieta, performed a reflection in dance titled “Rush Anew.”
The Springfield College Senior Class Board of Carolyn Burnham, Placido, Alberto Morales-Fernandez, and Susi provided reflections from the Class of 2022.
Springfield College seniors Olivia Green and Irene Rotondo provided a remembrance for the Class of 2022, followed by a musical interlude from Michael Rheault. Honors program student Rowan Beckford provided his reading of “Encounter in August.”
Concluding the ceremony was Max Pape with the unison prayer and Sunny Brown with the benediction.