AIC Celebrates 2023 Commencement with Inspiring Keynote, Honorary Degree Recipient, and Resilient Graduates

Congressman Richard Neal

It was a day filled with emotion and pride for the 578 American International College (AIC) graduates, their families, and friends at the College’s 2023 Commencement held on Saturday in Springfield. The event celebrated the accomplishments of the graduates, reflected on the challenges overcome, and recognized the influential voices that inspire the AIC community.

Congressman Richard Neal, an AIC alumnus from the class of 1972, delivered the keynote address to an audience of approximately 1,200 at the Mass Mutual Center. Congressman Neal spoke about democracy, the impacts of social media, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) during his speech.

The Congressman focused on the important role AIC graduates will play in an era when modern technology serves as a valuable tool but can also be misused to deceive and misinform. “I would caution all of you here today to think about what you want the future to look like for your children and grandchildren. These technologies have great potential, but they also have the potential to be Pandora’s Box,” Neal told the audience.

Urging the graduates to champion the cause of free speech, Congressman Neal emphasized the flood of communication in today’s world. “We are constantly overwhelmed with information, not all of which is accurate or factual.”

For the graduating class of 2023, reaching Commencement required exceptional resilience as they navigated the challenges of the pandemic throughout their college journey. While the worldwide crisis undoubtedly shaped their experience, it did not define them. Student Speaker Isaiah Longs of Springfield spoke about the obstacles he and his classmates overcame to reach this milestone.

“We’re the ones who just do not quit,” Longs said. “In a crucial time when everyone should learn to analyze their thoughts before speaking, I witnessed myself, my fellow students, and our faculty, further develop the patience and empathy to communicate with each other in a civil and respectful way.”

Adding to the occasion, retired NBA star and Springfield native Travis Best received an honorary degree from AIC. Best was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of his distinguished humanitarian contributions to society.

Expressing his gratitude, Best emphasized the significance of receiving the honorary degree as validation of his philanthropic work. “This degree means a lot to me. I’m always here, willing to help people and give of myself and I just think that is what life is about.”

To view the 138th AIC Commencement Ceremony, click here.

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