Commonwealth Honors College celebrated the honor distinction of 871 members of the University of Massachusetts Amherst class of 2017 during the Celebration of Excellence on Friday, May 12. The ceremony, held in the Mullins Center, included recognition from university dignitaries, such as UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and Provost Katherine Newman.
Commonwealth Honors College Dean Gretchen Gerzina offered remarks, congratulating graduates for their hard work and perseverance in their intellectual journey as members of the Honors College. “This journey has helped you develop the skills to understand the complex problems of this world and to respond to society’s changing needs,” said Dean Gerzina. “You have engaged in critical thinking, you have conducted advanced research, you have assumed leadership positions, you have volunteered in communities . . . and now you are well positioned to positively affect our society.”
The deans of the schools and colleges and directors of special academic programs, along with CHC staff and administrators, helped to wish graduates well and present each with a gold stole. The stole, a silky gold-colored cloth with “Commonwealth Honors College” across the front, is worn over the shoulders, signifying students’ participation in Commonwealth Honors College. Most wear the stole during the university commencement exercises.
Katherine Stolerman ‘17, legal studies major and sociology minor from Marblehead, Mass., was selected as the event’s student speaker. “Power,” Stolerman said, “is the courage to move just one person to safety, or progress, or hope.” She encouraged her classmates, “Even if you cannot incite change on a grand scale, taking a small role in the cause is well worth it.”
See event photos on our Facebook page.