By: Judith Kelliher
Springfield College hosted its 137th undergraduate commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 14, at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. Springfield College alumnus Peter G. Watson, recently retired as CEO and president of Greif, Inc., a $6.3 billion global packaging company, delivered the Commencement address.
As CEO, Watson led Greif with a vision "To be the best-performing customer service company in the world." This vision, together with developing a culture based on servant leadership, was adopted by Greif's 16,000 global colleagues and propelled Greif to be a global leader in industrial packaging.
Watson shared with graduates his views on the importance of servant leadership, which he noted could serve as an important foundation in their lives.
"Servant leadership is never about you, the leader, it is not about a fancy title or position of authority; it is not about the tenure you may have with an organization. It is not about your age, but rather it is about being intentional about your actions and behavior," Watson said. "Servant leadership is defined around the behaviors and decisions you make every day. Simply said, your actions and behaviors need to be so loud that no one can hear what you are saying."
He urged students to find their passion and purpose and to do what they love.
"Strive every single day to be the very best at it. You will all experience both success and failures in your journey. But always learn from your experiences. Get up every day with a passion and a commitment to succeed in something you love to do," Watson said.
Convening the ceremony was Springfield College Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Mary Ann Coughlin, who introduced Springfield College President Mary-Beth A. Cooper, PhD, DM.
"You have educated your whole person in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others [the Humanics philosophy]. But, more importantly, you have done so from a place of care and commitment to the people with whom you share this planet," Cooper said. "This is the true hallmark-and the responsibility-of a Springfield College education: the acquisition of knowledge used for the good of our whole society."
Springfield College Health Science major James Chan, a member of the swimming and diving team, delivered the student address during the undergraduate ceremony.
Chan focused his remarks to students on "influencing the globe and striving for justice," noting that every aspect of their college lives was built around the Humanics philosophy.
"This philosophy equips us, unleashes our full potential, and gets us ready for the day when the world needs us. And today is the day," Chan said. "Let's extend the Humanics philosophy and be change agents to champion justice for all!"
At the undergraduate commencement, 598 bachelor's degrees were awarded. Including the 518 degrees awarded at the graduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, a total of 1,116 degrees were awarded over the two days.