WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Friday was graduation day for students in the Class of 2023 at Westfield State University.

The MassMutual Center was filled with happy graduates and proud families who all gathered for the 137th Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony for Westfield State University.

Graduate Sarah Murphy is looking forward to a career in social work and is appreciative of what Westfield State Univerity had to offer, “I think it has taught me a lot about diversity and I think it gave me a lot of great opportunities. It’s crazy I can’t believe it – it goes by so fast.”

Many students took the time to decorate their graduation caps. 2023 graduate Aaliyah Brown sang the national anthem and opening remarks were made by the president of the student government association. The keynote speaker was award-winning actor and Westfield State University Graduate James Jackson Jr.

“We are very fortunate to have such a talented artist return to Westfield State to inspire our students at commencement. The journey that Mr. Jackson has taken to achieve success began on our campus and we are so proud of his achievements,” said President of Westfield State University Linda Thompson. 

“When I think about being asked to be this year’s Commencement Speaker at Westfield State University, I get emotional.  The foundation of any of the work I do now is rooted so deeply in my time at Westfield State.  It makes me quite emotional to think about the intersections of what I learned, the artist I became, and what I discovered about myself and my place in the world. It all started at Westfield. To be invited to speak to the graduating class as they embark on a journey that I am still learning from is one of the greatest honors of my life.  I cannot wait to meet them and to wish them well,” Jackson said.