UMass Class of 2022 praised for resilience, sense of discovery

May 8, 2022

UMass Dartmouth’s Cressy Field was flooded in a sea of caps and gowns throughout May 6 as the university celebrated the graduation of nearly 2,000 students.

“There will be challenges, to be certain, both personal and professional. There will be wrong turns and second guesses. There will be people standing in your way who don't think you can do it," Chancellor Mark Fuller said. "But you, the graduates of the Class of 2022, are the leaders who will continue to help show the way forward."

The Class of 2022 was split into two ceremonies by colleges.

Commencements kicked off with undergraduate and graduate students from the School for Marine Science & Technology, College of Engineering, and Charlton College of Business, while the afternoon ceremony consisted of the College of Visual & Performing Arts, College of Nursing & Health Sciences, and the College of Arts & Sciences.

While the ceremonies were split, both sets were praised for their ability to navigate the challenges of attending college during a pandemic.

“It’s your leadership that made it possible to keep this campus safe,” Fuller said. “You found new ways to connect with one another. You reached out when classmates needed a lifeline, you took your CHiPPis outside, and contributed over 250 hours of service — this is a student body that cares.”

The chancellor also encouraged the graduates to hold onto that resilience while finding  new ways to explore and innovate.

“You drive our progress,” he said. 

Student speaker Narcisse Kunda echoed those sentiments.

“Stepping outside your comfort zone will make you more confident in your ability to navigate uncertainty,” Kunda said. “Just look at how the last two years have played out.” 

In addition to forging new paths, Kunda advised his fellow graduates that it is okay to ask for help.

“You do not have to struggle in isolation,” he said.

Fellow student speaker Thais Sousa, who earned a doctorate in nursing, also stressed the importance of seeking assistance in life.

“Obstacles are not a reason to quit,” Sousa said. “Manage them, overcome them, and be humble enough to ask for that ‘extra help’ when you need it.”