May 22, 2010
Dr. Richard Yanikoski, president and CEO of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, urged the Class of 2010 to carry with them the lessons of civil community they learned during their four years at Saint Anselm College.
Dr. Yanikoski spoke at Saint Anselm's 117th commencement exercises on Saturday, May 22, 2010.
“Saint Anselm College is distinctive in being a manifestation of the ordered liberty that is at the root of the U.S. constitution,” he said. “These are attributes that should be at the root of every institution in this country.”
He noted that students were graduating at a time when the number of hate groups in the country has doubled since 2000 and there soon will be more private security guards than teachers. “I say to you, take Saint Anselm experience where ever you go,” he said, citing structured, rational discourse; civility, faith and a concern for moral action. “Organizations will be better for it.”
Father Jonathan DeFelice, O.S.B., president of Saint Anselm, told graduates they have been prepared through the college’s Catholic, Benedictine liberal arts education to address life’s profound questions and come to understand “who you really are in the context of your place in the world and your place in the plan of God.”
“I hope as you begin this next chapter, that you will never hesitate or falter in your search for truth,” he said.
He also gave graduates one final assignment: to fight Saint Anselm’s undeserved nickname of Saint C’s, which refers to the college’s reputation for tough grading. He reminded students that the most common grade at the college is a B not a C.
“As you hear the words cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude uttered 153 times this afternoon, stop and feel the pride you deserve to feel about your academic achievements,” he said.
Mary Mindek, of Wilmington, Conn., offered the student address. She said that while she was fortunate to arrive at Saint Anselm ready to declare a major, she soon understood that her love for math, and plan to teach at the secondary level, was only a starting point for her education.
“In the Humanities Program, we have not only been exposed to great thinkers, but have been given the opportunity to enter their minds, to see the world through their eyes,” she said. “In philosophy and theology courses, we have been challenged to think in unfamiliar ways, to formulate our own beliefs, and to ground ourselves in reason; we have been reminded, in our language and science courses, that the world extends far beyond our own lives, that some things are yet to be discovered, and that we are only a small part of some larger plan.”
Stephanie Iannalfo who received a nursing degree, was given the Student Award for Service and Citizenship. Three years ago, the student from Metheun, Mass., resident started a food drive at the end of the school year that turned into the Good Stuff for Good People program, which this year brought food, clothing and furniture to refugee families in Manchester.
Other awards presented during the ceremony, include the faculty award of the Saint Anselm College Chapter of the American Association of University Professors. It was presented to Philip Pajakowski, professor of history.
Honorary degrees were conferred upon Dr Yanikoski, as well as Elizabeth Gardella, president and CEO of New Hampshire Public Radio, and the Honorable Walter Peterson, former governor of New Hampshire and president of Franklin Pierce College, and former trustee of the University System of New Hampshire.