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NBC10 Boston's Latoyia Edwards and MA Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner Ashley Randle to Speak at WNE's 2024 Commencement

Published: April 05, 2024 | Categories: All News
2024 Commencement Speakers: NBC10 Boston’s Latoyia Edwards and MA Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner Ashley Randle

In an announcement that underscores Western New England University's tradition of celebrating excellence and leadership, the University is proud to reveal the Commencement speakers for its 2024 ceremonies. Esteemed journalist Latoyia Edwards will address the undergraduate class, while Commissioner Ashley Randle L’14 will speak to graduate students. Both ceremonies will take place on Sunday, May 19, at the MassMutual Center, Springfield, MA, marking a significant moment for the graduates.

"The selection of Latoyia Edwards and Ashley Randle as our Commencement speakers reflects our commitment to providing our graduates with role models who have demonstrated extraordinary dedication to their fields and communities," remarked University President Dr. Robert Johnson. "Latoyia's distinguished career in journalism and Ashley's pioneering work in agricultural policy embody the spirit of excellence and service that we strive to instill in our students. We are honored to have them join us in celebrating the achievements of our graduating class and look forward to hearing the wisdom and inspiration they will surely impart upon the Class of 2024."

Latoyia Edwards: A Beacon of Journalism and Community Service
Latoyia Edwards, an Emmy Award-winning anchor for NBC10 Boston and NECN, has been chosen as the WNE Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony speaker. Edwards, who was also listed among Boston Magazine's Most Influential Bostonians and named New Englander of the Year in 2023 by the New England Council, as well as recently honored with induction into the Dorchester Hall of Fame, will address the graduating class at 10:00 a.m., sharing insights from her illustrious career in journalism and media. Her journey from a Dorchester neighborhood native to a prominent morning news anchor exemplifies commitment, excellence, and the power of community engagement.

Having graduated with magna cum laude honors from Emerson College, Edwards's career spans various roles—from health reporter to news anchor—highlighting her versatility and dedication to reporting. Her work not only informs but also molds public discourse, making her an exemplary figure for aspiring journalists and all graduates.

"As an anchor and reporter who used to live and work in Western Massachusetts, I have had the pleasure of covering many innovative learning programs on the campus of Western New England University," said Edwards. "I am immensely excited to return as the Commencement speaker to support, inspire, and empower the 550 exceptional Western New England University graduates as they embark on their next chapter. From quantum computing, to pharmacy, education, and law, the Western New England University academic offerings are creating work-ready graduates equipped to make a sizeable impact in our global economy. I’m honored that I will be receiving an honorary doctorate from Western New England University and will be able to count myself among the esteemed community."

Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Ashley Randle: A Pioneer in Agriculture and Policy
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner Ashley E. Randle, a trailblazer in agricultural policy and the first woman to lead the Department as its twenty-first commissioner, will address graduate students at 3:00 p.m.

Randle's journey from fifth-generation dairy farmer from South Deerfield to key figure in MA state government embodies the spirit of perseverance, innovation, and leadership. Upon graduating from Western New England University School of Law in 2014, she embarked on a career in government, beginning with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, where she spearheaded the research and development of a sustainable recognition program for the Maine farming community. Before joining the MDAR team, Randle served as member services director for the Northeast Dairy Producers Association (NEDPA), engaging in public policy work for the dairy industry and fostering relationships among industry members.

A licensed Massachusetts attorney and a proud alumna of WNE's School of Law, Randle's extensive experience in agricultural policy, environmental protection, and sustainable farming practices positions her as a model of civic engagement and professional excellence for our graduates.

"I feel called to public service because of the impact my work has on the lives of farmers, fishers, and consumers," said Randle. "My legal education at Western New England University instilled in me the value of service, enhanced the skills I use as a leader, and further developed the knowledge I call on every day to address the challenges Massachusetts faces from the global food system and changing climate."

"We warmly welcome Latoyia Edwards and Commissioner Ashley Randle into the Western New England University family, as we proudly confer honorary doctorate degrees upon both speakers," remarked Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Maria Toyoda. "Their remarkable contributions to their respective fields epitomize the values of excellence and service that we cherish here at WNE, and we are honored to have them join our esteemed community."

As WNE prepares to send off its newest cohort of future leaders, educators, innovators, and professionals, the choice of Latoyia Edwards and Ashley Randle as commencement speakers reflects the University's commitment to inspiring its students through the stories of individuals who have made significant impacts in their fields and communities. Members of the Class of 2024 will go on to a broad range of careers and to graduate or professional schools to study law, education, finance, medicine, environmental research and advocacy, entrepreneurship, nonprofit leadership, and much more.

The Commencement ceremonies promise to be a memorable culmination of the hard work and achievements of WNE's Class of 2024, inspiring them to forge paths of success, service, and innovation.

The Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m., followed by the Graduate Commencement Ceremony at 3:00 p.m., both to be held at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, MA.