Hundreds upon hundreds of students and faculty filled the bleachers and covered the courts. A thunderous, floor-shaking applause greeted President Mary-Beth Cooper as she took the podium to accept her inauguration into her new home at Springfield College at Blake Arena on Friday at 3 p.m.
“I am humbled and honored to assume the role of president at this fine institution,” stated Cooper with a genuine smile on her face.
Although all of the speeches were unique in their own way, all shared a common theme. The speakers – including Mayor of Springfield Domenic Sarno and President Emeritus of Rochester Institute of Technology Albert Simone – all revisited the notion that Cooper was the best person for the job.
“It became relatively apparent that Mary-Beth didn’t want to just
be president. She wanted to be president of Springfield College,” said chair of the Springfield College Board of Trustees, Douglass Coupe, in regards to the amount of spirit Cooper has to a school still so new to her and her family.
After the gracious and meaningful remarks bestowed upon Cooper, the Springfield students and staff got to enjoy a performance from Springfield’s A capella club, Maroon 13. The Zanetti Children’s Choir also performed, leaving the whole arena clapping their hands as they sang, “Beauty in the World.”
The support that Cooper received, although expected, was rather astonishing none the less. A sea of over 300 student-athletes came out dressed in their team attire to cheer Cooper on as she sported her new Presidential Medallion and held the Springfield Mace.
“It is a great opportunity to come out and represent Springfield College. This is what it is about,” said sophomore Ricardo Vieux. “It is great to see so many people here; typically some people will say, ‘You don’t have to come out.’ It is great to see so much support.”
Cooper may have been inaugurated today, but it is safe to say that she became a member of the Springfield College community quicker than that. From running with the women’s cross country team, to inviting students into her home and even letting her yellow lab Dakota spend time with members of campus, Cooper has made a home here.
Bringing with her a vast knowledge of student affairs, Cooper has been described by many as “extremely personable” and “inviting.” Her personality fit well with the family-like atmosphere that Springfield College takes such pride in.
This successful inauguration ceremony is just the beginning of what will hopefully be a long, spirited relationship between the students and their new president.