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Jack Lund Tells Springfield College Grads to ‘Say Yes’ to Addressing Social Problems

May 14, 2011

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., May 14, 2011 – Jack Lund, president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of Greater New York, told graduates of Springfield College advanced degree programs today that “Reaching out to the weakest, the neediest, and most vulnerable among us may seem an impossible undertaking, but say yes anyway.”

Speaking to master’s and doctoral degree recipients at the 9:30 a.m. ceremony, on Naismith Green, on the Springfield, Mass. campus, Lund said, “When faced with the seemingly intractable problems of our time -- poverty, illiteracy, crime, disease and other ills, we begin to hear the drum beat that it will take a miracle, that I am only one person, that it is not my responsibility. But say yes anyway.”

Lund said, “You are not going out into the world, you are already there. Many of you have families, some of you have grandchildren. Most of you have careers, and all of you have plenty of responsibilities…a full plate. And yet, academic achievement and self improvement is important enough to you that you found a way to make room for it in your busy lives. So, today is not so much about moving from one phase to another as it is validation for what you have already accomplished.”

Prior to Lund’s speech, Springfield College awarded him an honorary doctoral degree. The college has, historically, awarded honorary degrees to a few outstanding individuals who, by their character and accomplishments, personify the college’s guiding philosophy, humanics. The philosophy emphasizes the dedication of spirit, mind and body for leadership in service to others.

In today’s ceremonies, the college awarded 525master’s degrees, seven doctor of philosophy degrees, 31 doctor of physical therapy degrees, and three certificates of advanced graduate study. Tomorrow, at its undergraduate commencement ceremony at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, the college will award 834 bachelor’s degrees.

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