SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Springfield College hosted its 127th undergraduate commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 19, at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) delivered the commencement address to graduating students.
“Class of 2013, all the planning and preparation in the world can’t prepare you for the many twists that are coming your way,” said Warren. “You can’t predict it all. People will tell you to plan things out as best you can. They will tell you to focus. They will tell you to follow your dreams. They will all be right.”
Springfield College presented an honorary doctor of Humanics degree to Warren, who assumed office as the first female senator from Massachusetts on Jan. 3 of this year. The College has, historically, awarded honorary degrees to a few outstanding individuals who, by their character and accomplishments, personify the College’s guiding philosophy, Humanics. The philosophy emphasizes the dedication of spirit, mind and body for leadership in service to others.
“I am so very excited to be here today, as this is my very first commencement address,” said Warren. “On this beautiful day, this last day before we turn you loose into the world, I want to make a pitch for something else. Among all the goal setting and perseverance, I want to talk with you about something different. I want to talk with you about being open to the unexpected, about making room for the improbable and unlikely."
Warren went on to add, “Never be so faithful to your plan that you are unwilling to consider the unexpected. Never be so faithful to your plan that you are unwilling to entertain the improbable opportunity that comes looking for you. And never be so faithful to your plan that when you hit a bump in the road – or when the bumps hit you – you don’t have the fortitude, grace, and resiliency to rethink and regroup.”
In closing, Warren reinforced the importance of hard work, perseverance and resiliency. “Class of 2013, for your generation, I know that it feels like you head into a very uncertain world,” added Warren. “But the world has always been uncertain. By getting an excellent education, you have built a strong and resilient foundation. And if you work hard, persevere, and leave yourself open to the occasional unexpected opportunity, you’ll do great.”
Joining Warren in receiving an honorary doctor of Humanics degree was Raymond A. Jordan, 20-year representative for the 12th Hampden District in the Massachusetts General Court, the state legislature of the Commonwealth.
Starting in 1974 as a state representative, Jordan chaired the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development and the House Committee on Counties. Additionally, he was the vice chairman of the House Committees on Energy and Ethics.
In 1996, Jordan became the senior community builder-state coordinator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Connecticut state office, a position held until 2002. Jordan also served as the department’s special project officer for the New England region.
Convening the ceremony was the chair of the Springfield College Board of Trustees Doug Coupe, who introduced the 12th president of Springfield College, Richard B. Flynn. Flynn, who is retiring on August 31, was participating in his 15th and final undergraduate commencement ceremony.
“I have come to have a special feeling for this class and many of its members,” said Flynn. “I hope you are leaving the College with some wonderful memories, and I want to thank you so much for providing us with some great memories as well. I am indeed confident that you will apply the same energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to your career, your family, and your community as you did in your years at Springfield College.
Springfield College Health Science and General Studies major, Kristina Dupuis, was the student speaker and added, “I am sure most of the audience today is like me, wondering where the last four years have gone,” said Dupuis. “These last four years at Springfield College have been the best four years of my life, and I am honored to stand before you today.”
The day before (Saturday, May 18), the College held its graduate commencement ceremony where 638 master’s degrees, 6 certificates of advanced graduate study, 19 doctor of philosophy degrees, and 31 doctoral of physical therapy degrees were awarded. At the undergraduate commencement on Sunday, 913 diplomas were awarded for a two-day total of 1607 degrees.