Springfield College held its Baccalaureate ceremony on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 12, on Amos Alonzo Stagg Field on the main campus. Baccalaureate is an annual Springfield College tradition held prior to the undergraduate commencement to honor the graduating senior class. It is a student-led ceremony designed to celebrate the spirit, mind, and body.
Delivering the Baccalaureate address was long-time Springfield College Occupational Therapy Professor Joan Simmons, who is retiring after more than 30 years as a faculty member at the College. Simmons has been with the Springfield College Occupational Therapy program since its inception on the campus.
“Class of 2021, you have conquered challenges with grit, creativity, humor, and that Humanics spirit,” said Simmons. “You all have proven without a doubt, that you can face unique and unprecedented forces, and still keep marching towards your valued goal.”
Simmons went on to add, “Education is a gift, your talents are a gift as well, share these gifts wisely and find that job that brings you happiness. I can’t thank you all enough for helping make my time at the College so enjoyable. You will embark on your own adventures moving forward, and I wish you nothing but happiness moving forward, thank you so much.”
Simmons was introduced by Class of 2021 occupational therapy major Julia McGourty, who highlighted the impact that Simmons has had on the campus community.
“Joanie’s time at Springfield College has influenced so many, and I have been so lucky to have her as a mentor and teacher these past four years,” said McGourty. “Even students who are not OT’s know and love Joanie. She has not only taken the time to support us as students, but works to get to know each and everyone one of us on a personal level while working to inspire us to not only become the best students we can be, but the best people we can be. We wish her the best of luck with retirement.”
Simmons acknowledged McGourty’s contributions to the Humanics philosophy of educating the whole person in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others by saying “[Julia] displayed our Humanics philosophy by helping raise more than $30,000 for childhood cancer research as part of the Springfield College Dance Marathon this academic year.”
The Baccalaureate ceremony began with the invocation and welcome, delivered by Springfield College physical education and health education major and Class of 2021 member Natasha Jordan.
“This year has been a great challenge for us all, but we have witnessed growth and development in most challenging times,” said Jordan. “Springfield College has experienced a rededication to the community service and civic engagement for which it is so well known, weathered the storms of the pandemic, and the College has committed itself to building a diverse and inclusive institution that encourages engagement and pluralism.”
Followed by Jordan’s opening, Springfield College President Mary-Beth A. Cooper addressed the Class of 2021 as they prepare for their commencement weekend following some unprecedented times both on the campus, and in the surrounding world.
“The Class of 2021 will further shape the meaning of Humanics by your experiences this year and how we lived in the world with one another,” said Cooper. “It will continue to be shaped for years to come as you grow as individuals, as professionals, as leaders, and most importantly as citizens. Help others embrace the notion of leadership and service to others as we rejoin each other in a society that is marked by change. Keep your triangle close. Congratulations and I looked forward to celebrating with you this weekend.”
The Springfield College senior dancers led by Alexandra MacPherson and Jamie Perry performed a reflection in dance titled, “Memories Made, We Did It All.”
In addition, the Springfield College Senior Class Board of Ryan Pelton, Ian Macala, and Stephen Backman, provided a reflection by the Class of 2021.
“I wish you all the best in your future endeavors, and I know that this class will be the most successful class to ever graduate from Springfield College. We love you all,” added Backman, who is the president of the Class of 2021.
The Reflection in Song was performed by Mollyrose McCarthy, who delivered a beautiful rendition of “The Dog Days Are Over.”
Springfield College senior in Business/Accounting Tuere Williams provided the baccalaureate reading: “The Journey,” by Mary Oliver. The Unison Prayer was delivered by Anna Wu, and at the conclusion of the event, Jasmine Hastings delivered the benediction.
Commencement Weekend - The 2021 Springfield College Commencement Weekend begins on Friday, May 14, with a virtual opening ceremony starting at 6:30 p.m. Following Friday’s opening celebration, the College will host eight separate in-person ceremonies, four on Saturday, May 15 and four on Sunday, May 16, at Stagg Field on the Springfield College main campus. Video streams can all be accessed through the Springfield College Commencement Stream webpage.
Springfield College is an independent, nonprofit, coeducational institution founded in 1885. Approximately 4,100 students, including 2,500 full-time undergraduate students, study at its main campus in Springfield, Mass., and at its regional campuses across the country. Springfield College inspires students through the guiding principles of its Humanics philosophy – educating in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others.