Springfield College 2024 Commencement Speakers Announced | Springfield College

Springfield College 2024 Commencement Speakers Announced


Springfield College will hold its 138th Commencement ceremonies on the weekend of May 11-12, during which undergraduate and graduate students will receive their diplomas and be recognized for their academic accomplishments. Each ceremony will feature a Commencement speaker.

The Graduate Student Commencement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 11, at 9:30 a.m. in the Field House in the Wellness and Recreation Complex on the Springfield College campus. We proudly announce that U.S. Representative Richard E. Neal will be granted an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree and deliver the Commencement. Congressman Neal is a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Massachusetts' 1st Congressional District.  He was raised and educated in the City of Springfield and is the dean of the Massachusetts Delegation and the New England Congressional Delegation.

The Undergraduate Student Commencement ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 12, at 9:30 a.m. at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield. This year’s commencement speaker is Martin Dobrow, professor of communications at Springfield College. Dobrow is an author and national-award-winning journalist with interests in civil rights and the intersection of sports and social justice.

"While Congressman Neal imparts the wisdom of political leadership and dedication to public service, and Professor Dobrow delves into the powerful nexus of sports and social justice, together they inspire our graduates to embrace the profound impact that service to others has across many facets of life. As we embark on this commencement journey, I look forward to their words resonating with our students, who will take what they’ve learned on Alden Street to help guide us towards a future where advocacy will shape a world of positive change," said Springfield College President Mary-Beth A. Cooper, PhD, DM. 

Martin Dobrow Biography

Now in his 25th year at Springfield, Dobrow is a former Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics and winner of the New England Journalism Educator of the Year award. He has enjoyed collaborating with students on creative journalistic projects such as the documentary called “The Class of 2023: A Journey Through Extraordinary Times” with current students Alberto Martinez and Braedan Shea, and the podcast called “Liberty, Justice, and Ball” with 2021 Springfield graduate Kris Rhim. He has helped develop and chaperone spring break trips for Springfield students to civil rights battleground cities like Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery, Alabama, and St. Augustine, Florida. Dobrow has written two books with a third on the way. His in-depth civil rights pieces for The Washington Post and The Atlantic include a detailed account of Martin Luther King’s remarkable journey to deliver the commencement address at Springfield College in 1964. 

Richard E. Neal Biography

Born in Worcester and raised and educated in Springfield, Congressman Neal was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1988 and joined the Ways and Means Committee in 1993. In January 2019, Congressman Neal was elected by his colleagues to assume the esteemed position of Chairman, marking the first time since 1875 that a representative from Massachusetts had done so.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Congressman Neal worked tirelessly to bring relief to the American people. The first relief bill, the CARES Act, included several provisions from the Ways and Means Committee that single handedly saved the American economy. In addition, Chairman Neal spearheaded several historic legislative achievements during the 116th and 117th Congress, including the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, the Chips and Science Act, and SECURE 2.0. Congressman Neal is the dean of both the Massachusetts Delegation and the New England Congressional Delegation, as well as an At-Large Whip for the House Democrats. He is also the Democratic Leader of the Friends of Ireland Caucus. Congressman Neal is a long-time guest lecturer at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and has received many awards and honorary degrees in his career, including an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters from Mount Holyoke College, an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from Ulster University in Northern Ireland, and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from Queen’s University Belfast. Before his time in Congress, Neal was a high school teacher, member of the Springfield City Council, and Mayor of the City of Springfield from 1984 to 1988.