I am pleased and proud to offer my very warmest welcome to the families and guests who join us today and my heartfelt congratulations to our graduates on this auspicious occasion. Today marks Saint Anselm College’s 121st Commencement Exercises. Some dedicated members of our community have taken part in more than forty of those ceremonies, but for me as Saint Anselm’s new president, it is a very special first.
Today represents a collective triumph, not just of the Class of 2014, but of their professors, and the administrators and staff who have guided and supported them on their journey. As our graduates take their leave from their Saint Anselm home that was founded and is lovingly sustained by the monks of Saint Anselm Abbey, our gratitude extends to many people. For the admission officer who first inspired a young person’s interest in Saint Anselm and the dining hall employee who served up encouraging words as well as meals along the way, to the teacher who graded the last exam and will serve as a mentor for decades to come, today is a shared celebration. Far from least of those sharing in this gratitude are the parents and families of our graduates, whose caring presence has sustained them over the past four years in ways large and small, and who now proudly watch as they prepare to take their next steps forward, strengthened by that foundational love and support.
Today also represents hundreds of individual journeys of personal and academic growth, of goals set and achieved, majors selected and abandoned, plans altered, discoveries made, relationships formed and horizons opened. Each graduate who ascends the stage today brings a personal story of joy, heartache and perseverance, often against the most difficult of obstacles. With them, we remember in prayer today the parents, grandparents and other family members lost by these graduates who cannot be here to celebrate with us today.
Members of the Class of 2014: you are the first to whom I have the honor of handing a Saint Anselm diploma. On behalf of your professors, I send you forth to Harvard, Brown and the University of Texas; to Chicago, California, Germany, Spain and Rwanda; to hospitals, banks, schools, publishing houses, software companies and television networks; to the heady corridors of political power and the heartbreaking streets and villages of the most vulnerable.
We send you with God’s blessings upon you and your families and upon the remarkable life of creative and generous service that lies before you. For you have learned in your four years what generations before you have known and what I have discovered in just one short year: Anselmian today. Anselmian tomorrow. Anselmian always.