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Springfield College Announces 2012 Commencement Speakers

April 4, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Tim Murphy, head football coach at Harvard University, and Charles H. Rucks, Esq., a well-known community leader, will deliver commencement addresses at the Springfield College 2012 Commencement ceremonies. Murphy will address undergraduates on Sunday, May 13, at 9:30 a.m., at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield. Rucks will speak to graduate students on Saturday, May 12, at 9:30 a.m. on Naismith Green, on the Springfield College campus.

Springfield College will present honorary doctor of humanics degrees to Murphy and Rucks. At Sunday’s ceremony, Sally Griggs, former chair and current member of the Springfield College Board of Trustees and longtime community volunteer, will also receive an honorary doctor of humanics 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. Humanics emphasizes the dedication of spirit, mind and body for leadership in service to others.

The Thomas Stephenson Family Head Coach for Harvard Football, Murphy has led the Harvard Crimson to 10 consecutive winning seasons. His 120 wins at Harvard are the most in the program's history. Known by his peers as one of the game’s finest teachers and motivators, in 2012 Murphy is in his 19th year as Harvard’s head coach and serves as president of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).

Murphy, of Wayland, Mass., earned a bachelor of science degree in 1978 and a master of education the following year from Springfield College. He was a four-year starter on the Springfield College football team, earning a small college All-New England linebacker award as a senior. He did additional postgraduate work at Boston University. Murphy also was a head football coach at the University of Maine, where, in 1987, he led the Black Bears to their first NCAA Division I-AA playoff berth; and at the University of Cincinnati, where, at the age of 32, he was the youngest Division I head coach in the nation. He was inducted into the Springfield College Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.

Rucks, of Springfield, has committed himself to improving the quality of life in his city and its neighborhoods. The executive director of Springfield Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc., he is a seasoned management professional whose vision and expertise have helped him lead challenged organizations through difficult times.

In his current position, Rucks has worked to transform distressed neighborhoods by helping to create sustainable home ownership opportunities for families. In this capacity, he was selected to represent 220 agencies nationwide as a participant at the White House Conference on Minority Homeownership held in Washington, D.C.

Rucks began his community work with the Urban League of Springfield, where he served as senior vice president. While there, he managed the planning and formulation of a charter school and a community development corporation to empower citizens with the means to redress their economic and social issues.

Rucks’ career has always been one of service, starting with his time at the U.S. Naval Academy. Upon graduation, he served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, stationed throughout the world and holding various command and staff positions of increasing scope and responsibility. He earned a master of business administration degree from Cornell University, and a juris doctorate from Western New England College (now Western New England University) School of Law two decades later.

Griggs, of Northampton, Mass., has been a member of the board of trustees at Springfield College since 1999. She is a member of the executive committee and served as chair of the board from 2008 to 2011. Griggs was chair of the development committee during the college’s recent and highly successful comprehensive campaign.

A longtime community volunteer, Griggs is a board member of the Northwestern Children’s Advocacy Project and a member of the Assembly of Overseers of Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. She serves on the Cooley Dickinson Hospital Development Committee and Campaign Steering Committee and is a trustee and member of the executive committee for Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech.

Griggs was a longtime board member and first female president of the Hampshire Regional YMCA and an executive committee and board member of the YMCA of the USA. She was treasurer of the Friends of Forbes Board of Trustees and received the Forbes Library Trustees’ Award in 2002. A graduate of Vassar College, Griggs taught elementary school in Boston and Ware, Mass. She retired in 1974 as acting principal of the Ware Elementary School.

At its 2012 commencement, Springfield College will award bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, and certificates of advanced graduate study.

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