AIC Celebrates Graduates During its 139th Commencement Ceremony

AIC graduation ceremony

Springfield, MA – American International College (AIC) celebrated its 139th commencement ceremony at the MassMutual Center on May 11, sending 603 graduates into their future with either bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degrees. For the class of 2024, this was an especially poignant celebration. For many, it was their chance to finally walk across the stage and collect their hard-earned diploma after missing out on in-person high school graduations due to the pandemic. COVID-19 also led to this group of students beginning their college careers with online classes.

Keynote speaker Michael D. Smith – the CEO of AmeriCorps – regaled graduates, their families, and AIC faculty and staff with stories from his youth, growing up in the McKnight neighborhood of Springfield. Smith spoke of how being part of a community at the Boys and Girls Club of Springfield planted the seeds for his future in which he leads the country’s largest public volunteer force.

Smith, who received an honorary doctorate from AIC during the ceremony, told the graduates they were not unlike him. “My story might be yours, too. People see you but they don’t always see your struggles. There are some high school dropouts in this room,” he said. “There are some people here with learning disabilities. There are some single parents and recovering addicts, some refugees, some hungry, and some who feel hopeless at times. But AIC wanted you because they knew what some saw as hurdles, you are going to use as springboards.”

The ceremony saw 216 bachelor’s degrees, 279 master’s, 72 certificates of graduate study, and thirty-six doctorates awarded.  The College’s Interim President Nicolle Cestero told students that their time at AIC was formative. “Each of you has overcome challenges, pursued passions and you have grown in ways you might not have imagined when you first stepped foot on campus,” she told the graduates. “As you stand ready to begin your next journey, know that life is full of possibilities just waiting for you.”

Cestero also invited the soon-to-be alumni to maintain close ties with their alma mater. “Return to the College often and stay connected with the community that has shaped you into the remarkable individual you are today.  Whatever tomorrow holds for you, remember the lessons you’ve learned here, the challenges you’ve overcome, and the dreams that have fueled your aspirations.”


See more in the AIC 2024 Commencement news coverage below:

The Republican


WWLP 22News

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