Campus News News

Springfield College Commencement Speaker Chosen

Spirit, mind, and body. On a campus that fully embraces those three aspects of life, only a handful of people actually have Springfield College in their blood.

Pat Kenney
Campus News Editor





Spirit, mind, and body.

Photo Courtesy: Marketing and Communications
Photo Courtesy: Marketing and Communications

On a campus that fully embraces those three aspects of life, only a handful of people actually have Springfield College in their blood.

“My sister and I were the only two children ever to grow up on the Springfield College campus,” stated Dr. G. Richard Olds, who currently is the vice chancellor of the School of Medicine at the University of California. “[We] have a fairly personal tie to Springfield that is different from everyone else.”

Serving as the bat and water boy for the Springfield College baseball and football teams, Olds lived on campus between the ages of seven and 15. Aside from attending every athletic event on campus, Olds was present for what he calls “one of Springfield’s finest hours.”

Fifty years ago, Glenn A. Olds, Dr. Olds’ father and president of Springfield College at the time,  faced pressure from the FBI, put his foot down and made a stand. In order to ensure Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave the 1964 commencement speech to the graduating Springfield College students, Olds placed his job and career on the line by defying the FBI’s orders to “uninvite” King.

“It would be best to describe [my father] as a person of very strong principles. He did a lot of things based on what he thought was the right thing to do, and he did them whether it was the expedient thing to do or if it would get him into trouble,” commented Olds.

In honor of his father’s fight to bring the civil rights leader to Springfield, Dr. Richard Olds will be giving the 2014 commencement address for both the undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies.

Making his return to campus after a four-year absence, Olds plans to focus his speech towards the King speech 50 years prior and how it impacted his life moving forward.

“The events [I] will talk about will apply to other problems [in life],” continued Olds. “In life we will all face difficult decisions, and often you are forced to decide what is the right thing to do. All of us will be faced with the decision; will you do the right thing even if there are negative consequences?”

Based off the actions of his father, Olds plans to encourage students to think about tough decisions in life and if doing the right thing is what they want. Olds believes that everyone in their life will face tough decisions, and deciding what is the right decision is essential.

As students and future professionals, lessons can be learned from Glenn and Richard Olds: fight for what you believe is right no matter what the consequences are and this world will become a better place for everyone.

The graduate commencement ceremony will be held Saturday, May 17, at 9:30 a.m., on the college’s Naismith Green on the main campus.

The undergraduate ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 18, at 9:30 a.m., at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield.

Going along with doing what is right, the Springfield College Humanics Achievement Award recognizes an individual or group who has exhibited courage in the face of adversity, demonstrated leadership in service to others and advanced diversity and inclusion.

The members of the 1934 American Legion Post 21 Baseball Team will be one of the  co-recipients of the award this year for their stand against racial discrimination and their grasp on the spirit, mind and body mantra. Former Springfield College Associate Protestant Chaplain Gregory Dyson will also be a co-recepient of the prestigious award.

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