University News

Commencement 2024: An Unforgettable Experience

Published: May 21, 2024 | Categories: All News
2024 WNE Commencement - students standing as they anticipate their walk to receive their deploma.

On Sunday, May 19, Western New England University held two momentous commencement ceremonies at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield, marking the first time the events took place at this location in more than two decades. The decision to move the venue came after careful consultation with students, allowing for a larger gathering of family and friends.

The ceremonies witnessed 517 undergraduates and 358 graduates receive their diplomas, surrounded by peers from across the United States and beyond. The undergraduate students hailed from 21 states, including California, New York, and Texas, reflecting the diverse and widespread community at WNE. The graduate and professional students represented 26 states and five countries, including Canada, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, and the United States, showcasing the global reach of the University.

Emmy Award-winning NBC10 Boston journalist Latoyia Edwards, and Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Ashley Randle, a WNE Law alumna from the Class of 2014, delivered the commencement addresses for the undergraduate and graduate ceremonies, respectively.

Latoyia Edwards, in her address to the undergraduates, emphasized the power of perseverance and the importance of giving back to the community. “Your journey does not end here," she said, urging the graduates to use their voices for good and to be catalysts for change in their communities.

Commissioner Randle shared her personal story of growth from a local farm to leading state agricultural policy. "We are rooted in our communities, and from these roots, we grow and impact the world," Randle told the graduates, illustrating the influence of dedication and local engagement on broader societal outcomes.

President Robert E. Johnson praised the graduates for their resilience and determination. "Today marks a pivotal moment in your lives, filled with the joy of achievement and the anticipation of future contributions," he said.

Student speaker Nina Sullivan, representing the Class of 2024, reflected on the shared experiences and challenges overcome, "We stood together, studied together, and we thrive together. Let's carry forward this unity wherever we go."

The commencement was not only a celebration of academic achievements but also a testament to the enduring spirit and commitment of the Western New England University community. The University's move to the MassMutual Center allowed for a grander celebration, accommodating the aspirations and achievements of a larger contingent of the graduating class and their supporters. As the ceremonies concluded, the graduates stepped forward into new chapters of their lives, ready to apply their knowledge and skills in various professional fields, fueled by the encouragement and wisdom imparted through their education at WNE.

View WWLP coverage of the ceremonies highlighting comments from WNE graduate Sean Alvord, and commencement speakers Latoyia Edwards and Ashley Randle: Western New England University holds 2024 commencement ceremonies.

Recordings of both ceremonies can be viewed at WNE Commencement.

Dr. Johnson entering arena
Students gather outside commencement
Decorated Commencement caps