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Governor Charlie Baker to deliver Westfield State 2016 commencement address

Governor Charlie Baker to deliver Westfield State 2016 commencement address

WESTFIELD, Mass., February 16, 2016 - Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker will address Westfield State University students during the university’s 177th commencement ceremony. The 2016 undergraduate commencement takes place on Saturday, May 21 at 4 p.m. in the MassMutual Center in Springfield.

“As a class that is committed to engaging in the democratic process and service to our communities, we are extremely excited to welcome Governor Baker, who is arguably one of the most popular governors in the country, as our commencement speaker,” said Class of 2016 President Ryan Losco.

Charlie Baker was inaugurated on January 8, 2015 as the 72nd Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, succeeding Deval Patrick. A native of Needham, Mass., Baker attended Massachusetts public schools, graduated from Harvard College and earned his master’s of business administration from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

“I am honored to be able to address the students, faculty, administrators, graduates, and their families at Westfield State University during their commencement ceremony in May and to celebrate the many accomplishments they have achieved over their long distinguished history in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “I am especially grateful for the leadership of Westfield State’s new president Dr. Ramon Torrecilha and for his interest in working together to ensure that our graduates are ready for the jobs of tomorrow.” 

“The message is clear at both the state and federal level: more college graduates are needed.  Westfield State is honored to host Governor Baker and looks forward to working with his administration to develop programs like a low-cost degree or our Physician Assistant program that will both bolster support for students and meet the workforce needs of the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Ramon S. Torrecilha, president, Westfield State University.

Prior to his role as governor, Baker has served in both public and private sectors. He worked as cabinet secretary under Governors William Weld and Paul Cellucci. As Secretary of Health and Human Services, Baker worked to reform Massachusetts’ social service system, making it more humane, cost-effective, and responsive to the needs of the Commonwealth. In his role as Secretary of Administration and Finance, Baker oversaw a number of cost-saving reforms and was honored with the Distinguished Service Award by the National Governors’ Association.

Baker also served as Chief Executive Officer of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care where he is credited with transforming the company from the edge of bankruptcy into the nation’s highest ranked health care provide for six years in a row. During his time as CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, the company was named one of Boston Business Journal’s “Best Places To Work” for seven consecutive years.

Westfield State University has launched a number of initiatives to increase access and affordability for higher education. In February of last year, the university inked the “Reach to Teach” agreement with Springfield Public Schools aimed to attract middle and high school students of color to the teaching profession to the high need areas of teacher training in math, science, and special education. In 2014, the university partnered with Holyoke Community College making it possible for students to transfer into the university’s online bachelor’s degree program, allowing them to complete a four-year degree fully online. Westfield State also launched the President’s MassTransfer Agreement with both Holyoke Community College and Springfield Technical Community College, allowing students to transfer to the university upon completion of an associate’s degree for a low-cost.

Tickets are required to attend Westfield State University commencement. For more information, visit http://www.westfield.ma.edu/commencement.

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