Cooper: ‘You are in the right place at the right time’

Dear Students,

Welcome home. Each fall I share my Convocation remarks with the Springfield Student to mark the formal beginning of the academic year. Last Friday, we had the opportunity to welcome our new students on Stagg field, with cheering upperclass students and our dedicated faculty in full regalia. It was, without a doubt, the happiest day I can remember in quite awhile.  Although my comments were directed to the newest members of our community, the message below is for all our community. Welcome home, one and all!

Good afternoon and welcome to the Springfield College Class of 2025. 

I start my remarks at each Convocation with that welcome. To be honest, though, I don’t know when I have been more excited to say those words to an entering class that is sitting in front of me. Let me say it again. 

Welcome to the Springfield College Class of 2025

Let’s be honest. Your last year of high school wasn’t what you imagined it would be, but we are going to make the beginning of your college career more than you dreamed of. 

Let me assure you – or reassure you – that you are in the right place at the right time.

This weekend, you will be welcomed into the community and culture of Springfield College – a place that holds dear our revered traditions like the Humanics mission, serving our local community, and expressions of kindness like saying hello when we pass by each other on campus. Even more, you can count on a commitment to learning and to growing that has been front and center for each of our 135 years.

There’s something else you can count on this year and it’s a bit unusual. 

You can count on me to NOT use the following words this year: unusual and unprecedented. Frankly, I’m a bit tired of hearing our experience described in this way. The reality is that we are where we are. And, we are exactly where we are supposed to be. 

The beginning of your time at Springfield College is the start of an important transition. A former colleague of mine once told me that “transitions are terrifying. You can enter them with fear or hope. You have to choose which one. Fear can’t reside where hope lives.” I choose hope and I hope you do, too.

You have the opportunity, starting today—and you’ve really already begun—to have a Springfield College experience that is exquisitely crafted from the decisions you make when opportunity presents itself. My best advice to you today is this…When you have an opportunity…take it. It might be a class that intrigues you, a student club or organization you want to get involved in, a new sport or activity to try out, a chance to help a classmate or friend in need. 

Making a choice is a deliberate act. Making a choice to make a difference is an act of service.

In truth, you may be pushed into an opportunity. Someone in your circle may say “you should do this.” Choose to listen to them. They just might open a door for you to an amazing opportunity that you wouldn’t have otherwise taken.

One of the greatest joys of mine is to travel around the country and hear the stories of some of our 48,000 alumni. One theme that has emerged, regardless of how long it’s been since they were a student here, is this: they seized the opportunity to author their own lives honorably by embracing and advancing the Humanics ethos of spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others. 

When they reflect on their accomplishments, countless alumni have said to me “I didn’t know I could until I went to Springfield College.” Maybe it was starting a business, leading an organization, teaching a class, performing on stage, running a marathon, or finding their voice. Springfield College is where the journey begins. Springfield College is where you challenge yourself, stretch yourself. Springfield College is where you find your BOLD. Take it. 

You are in the right place at the right time. And, I couldn’t be happier to welcome you to your new home.


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