On Saturday, May 18, 430 Saint Anselm College students received their diplomas during the 126th commencement exercises. Speaker Robert K. “Bob” Weiler ’73, HD ’00 shared his advice for navigating life and the workforce with the graduates through five major tenets.
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Photos: Commencement 2019
Speeches & Remarks
Kathryn Gabert - Student Address
President DiSalvo, Abbot Mark, Bishop Libasci, the Benedictine community, members of the Board of Trustees, and honorary degree recipients, distinguished...and undistinguished...faculty and staff, friends, families, and my fellow classmates of the Class of 2019, good morning and what a privilege and an honor it is to speak on behalf of the graduating class.
On August 27, 2015, we sat in these same squeaky Christian Party Rental seats anxiously awaiting the next four years.
On that breezy Thursday, we heard Liliana Kane talk about her years at Saint Anselm and how we were about to embark on what many called the most formative years of their lives.
Today, we sit here still anxious. Some of us still unemployed, ready to take on this world.
Our professors, mentors, and the members of the Saint Anselm community taught us life lessons, educated us on our Benedictine heritage, and showed us the true meaning of being Anselmian.
The most impactful thing I learned at Saint Anselm, I learned at the beginning of our Sophomore year. About 30 students attended an Encounter retreat held in the lower church. At this retreat a story was shared with us.
The short story began at the end of a lecture given by Philosopher and teacher, Dr. Alexander Papaderos. Like usual, at the end of his lecture Dr. Papaderos asked, “Are there any questions?” Some bold individual from the crowd spoke up and asked, “What is the meaning of life?”.
Now if I were to have gotten that question, I don’t think I would have been able to come up with an sufficient answer. But Dr. Papaderos responded with something that has resonated with me for nearly three years.
Dr. Papaderos recalled growing up in Greece during the Second World War. One day while on a walk he found bits of a broken mirror on the road. He tried to piece them together but with all the small pieces he couldn’t, so he took the largest one. By scratching it on a stone he made it round. He said, “I began to play with it as a toy and became fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun would not shine. It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places I could find.”
Trying to reflect light into dark places describes much of what has taken place these past four years—in fact, our professors would say that is pretty much their job description. We haven’t always attained enlightenment and sometimes it’s been hard to even reflect.
Together we have had our struggles. Just as the mirror, we have been broken: handing in papers from our caffeine induced all-nighters, waking in bed at 9:05 for an 8:30 class knowing it's long past the time to use the “my alarm didn’t go off” excuse; putting our noses to the grindstone through finals with 2 papers, 4 exams, and $3 left on your meal plan. And we’ve all had our own personal struggles, discovering our values and who we are. These times were difficult, but we made it through. We have been slowly shaped, like the piece of Dr. Papaderos’s mirror. Some of our sharpest edges have been rounded.
Liliana Kane was right, these have been formative years, months, and days. And we have begun to reflect light into dark places—in ourselves and into our world.
We have embraced the love, generosity, and knowledge reflected into our hearts. We have walked 130 miles in solidarity for 9 charities. We have attended the Valentine’s Day dance and cupid shuffled until our legs fell off. We have relayed with one another until 4am to raise half a million dollars in four years.
In smaller ways we have made an impact by: holding doors for people ten feet behind us and making them put it into a jog; attempting to get in the last “have a nice day” with Leslie from Davison, but never being able to; discussing the “joy of life” with peers after a seminar on Chris McCandless and Into the Wild; or leaving your ID with Terry at Cshop at the end of the year because you have way too much money left on your meal plan, and some hungry Senior could definitely use that buffalo chicken calzone.
Dr. Papaderos concluded his answer with this, “I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of the light. But light – truth, understanding, knowledge – is there, and it will only shine in many dark places if I reflect it. I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have, I can reflect light into the dark places of this world…and change some things in some people. This is the meaning of my life.’
It could also be the meaning of ours.
Today we are joining the nearly 20,000 alumni, all parts of the Anselmian mirror, reflecting light into the hearts of men and women near and far. Now it is our turn. What we learned here, by allowing our faith to seek understanding, we will use for years to come.
Thank you to the monks for opening their home to us.
Thank you to our professors for teaching us the value of a liberal arts education.
Thank you to the faculty and staff for being our support system.
Thank you to our parents and loved ones who supported our dreams from the start.
And lastly thank you to the class of 2019 who taught me the meaning of being a part of a forever family.
So, I leave you with a question—In your future careers, families, and friendships, how will you reflect the light, love, and joy that Saint Anselm has brought you?
Godspeed in your endeavors class of 2019. And let your light shine in the hearts of those who need it most.
American Association of University Professors Faculty Award
Each year the Saint Anselm College Chapter of the American Association of University Professors presents the Distinguished Faculty Award at graduation. It recognizes excellence in teaching and scholarship, contributions to the academic community through active and positive relations with colleagues and students, and an involved concern for humanity.
Horace Greeley famously gave the advice, “Go West, young man”, but fortunately for Saint Anselm College, this year’s recipient decided to go East 17 years ago. He grew up in California and received his PhD in History at UC Santa Barbara. He taught at Oregon and the University of Puget Sound before joining the faculty here.
The advice to go West was given to the men returning to their homes after the Civil War and that is the area of research for today’s award winner. His book, “A War of Wonders”: How Britons Imagined the American Civil War, published by LSU Press was recently released. He has also authored numerous book chapters and articles on the subject of the impact of the Civil War on Great Britain and presented his research at regional and national conferences throughout his career. He has reviewed Civil War books for academic audiences and was the Book Review Editor for H-Civil War from 2007-2013. He is one of the few faculty on campus to receive a Saint Anselm College Summer Research Grant every year he has been eligible.
Our recipient today has given countless hours to meaningful and important service to his faculty colleagues including: 9 years on the Faculty Senate (2 years as President and 2 as its Faculty Representative to the President’s Cabinet); 5 years on the Faculty Senate Benefits Committee (4 as Chair); 5 years on the Rank and Tenure Committee (2 as Chair). He also recently served as a member of the NECHE re-accreditation steering committee and the Working Group on the College Bylaws. There have been many other committee assignments and search committees—much too numerous to list here. While he may kick himself sometimes for saying yes to these time consuming assignments, they always get his best effort, which of course is why he is asked to serve again and again.
And then there’s his outstanding teaching. He received the Abbot Gerald McCarthy, OSB, Faculty Member of the Year award for "the faculty member who has shown the most dedication to the students throughout the academic year". There’s laughter mixed in with learning as they benefit from his dry wit, depth of knowledge, and thorough preparation. He was one of the first to co-teach and co-created one of the most innovative classes on campus, “History’s Mysteries” where his class investigated a cold case right here in Goffstown. He has taught 17 different courses at the college, not including teaching in the Humanities program! Is that a record? If not it must be close. Service and teaching are combined in his co-management of the History Department’s Facebook page where he and Dr. Matt Masur sometimes appear live and his role of “blogmaster” for the department’s blog, One Thing after Another.
The class prep, research, and substantial service take up a lot of time outside regular working hours, but he is still able to find time to participate in family life with his wife, Elizabeth, and two children and in the local community. He has been the “Voice of the Grizzlies” for Goffstown High School Varsity Soccer games on GTV, Channel 16, since 2016 and has coached his kids’ soccer and softball teams. If any of my colleagues here today are asked to be on a committee by our recipient, I encourage you not to tell him you are too busy to serve!
It is with great pleasure I present the 2019 AAUP Award for Excellence in Faculty Accomplishment to Professor of History Hugh Dubrulle.
President DiSalvo Commencement Address
Dear Members of the Platform Party, Family and Friends, and our honored guests, the Class of 2019,
Today marks the end of one journey and the beginning of another. The accomplishments of these past four years have led you to this moment in time, when you will soon walk across this very stage and receive your diploma. You have many memories to cherish, some which you may wish to forget, but most importantly, a long list of friendships that will last a lifetime, a Saint Anselm College education, and the degree to prove it. That degree you have earned is yours for life. Nobody can remove it. Nobody can critique it. Nobody can question it. The beauty of today is that your degree is being granted because of the work that you, and only you, have done during your time here. You have worked diligently to pass your courses and to navigate the many complex relationships that have made up your collegiate experience.
When you arrived four years ago, you were well aware that this day would come. It was probably hard to believe on that summer’s day, because there was such joy and celebration created by members of our community- from those who greeted you when your car pulled up to your dorm, to those serving the finest cuisine who welcomed you into the Anselmian community. You woke up the next morning in a place filled with traditions, activities and opportunities for learning both in and out of the classroom. You celebrated game-winning moments with teammates, practiced solidarity alongside fellow volunteers during service trips, and explored the human condition in Conversatio. You met presidential candidates, performed on the Dana Center stage, drank too much Starbucks in the Jean Center, studied abroad to expand your horizons, and interned to jumpstart your future career. Over a few thousand meals in Davison Hall and the Coffee Shop, hundreds of nights in a twin-size bed, and many early morning walks to class, you forged dozens of close friendships and made countless memories that will be with you forever.
Your college experience was designed to give you the tools to separate good from evil, right from wrong, and to tread pathways to success filled with honor and integrity. But although the sun shines upon us today, as you contemplate leaving the Hilltop for good to begin the next phase of your life journey, to start to use those tools in the “real world,” it may feel as if the future is cloudy.
It is true that our world is filled with great challenges. We are relying on you to create positive civil discourse, find cures for devastating diseases, take care of an aging population, build bridges to the future and keep us safe from threats we know of today and those we have yet to even imagine. The national and international political landscapes present extraordinary levels of polarization and you hold the hope of a generation for reconciliation, tolerance and understanding. Our faith continues to be tested, and we look to you to renew our belief in something engrained in my memory from my sixth-grade catechism course, a phrase which was recited every morning by 50 students standing next to their desks; a phrase that I have come to believe is critically important in today’s society: “The Church is the family of God’s children, gathered together by the risen Lord.” We are all members of that family, and we call upon you to always shine a light on the world around you, even when individual differences threaten to divide us and things seem darkest.
No pressure, right? All of this may appear unknown, insurmountable, even terrifying. But, know that you now have the tools to accomplish all of these things and so much more. You have learned to always be respectful, to care for those less fortunate and to face adversity with grace and dignity. When you are tested, and you will be, you can rise above those who seek to bring you down, and do the right thing, no matter the consequences. The world in which we now live is constantly changing, and often disquieting, but it is a world in which you are equipped with the foundational values to succeed and to effect positive change.
Of course, it is not your Saint Anselm experience and education alone that has brought you to this point. You were blessed with the opportunity to join this community, in part because of the many sacrifices made by your parents and loved ones. When you arrived at Orientation, I asked you to say three important words to your parents. Remember, it was NOT “please send money” but rather “I love you.” So, before the sun sets behind Alumni Hall today and reality sets in that your college experience is at an end, make sure to find time to tell your parents one more time just how much you love them and appreciate the gift of their love and support.
As you know, this will be the last Commencement over which I will preside at Saint Anselm College. Just like you, I now look beyond the Hilltop to the challenges ahead, and I will take with me those values of optimism, faith and perseverance so vital to the Anselmian spirit from my time here as well. “Forward, always forward” is a mantra by which I have chosen to live my own life, and no matter what the future holds, I invite you to always believe in yourselves and forge ahead, knowing that you are equal to whatever trials you may face.
In his book, “Seven Choices for Success and Significance,” Dr. Nido R. Qubein, president of High Point University and a personal hero of mine, wrote something which I would like to close by sharing with you:
“These days we hear a lot about freedom. But we rarely exercise our most precious freedom. You won’t find it in the Bill of Rights, and if you read it, the Declaration of Independence only hints at it. No document of any nation anywhere in the world clearly spells it out. That’s because no nation can give it to you, and no nation- no people- can take it away from you. This freedom is equally available to all people regardless of race, religion, gender, economic status or circumstance. It is available to the prisoner, the invalid, the poor, the victim of discrimination, the timid, even the person who lives under a repressive regime. What it is? It is this: each of us has the freedom to choose how we will respond to the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Life is a giant smorgasbord of choices. Yet here we stand, with our small plates that can only hold so much. Freedom demands that we make choices.”
As we move forward, always forward, into the next chapter in our lives, never forgetting that most precious freedom of choice, I am honored to walk together with you today. I wish you all Godspeed today and forever. Thank you and good luck Class of 2019!
Robert K. Weiler ’73, HD ’00 - Commencement Address
President DiSalvo, Abbot Mark, the Benedictine community, members of the Board of Trustees, Honorary degree recipients, distinguished faculty and staff, friends, and very proud families.
Today is a great day. An end of one phase and the beginning of a new stage of your lifelong journey. Congratulations!
Congratulations on graduating from Saint Anselm. I graduated in 1973. I know St. A’s doesn’t have a math requirement…so that was 46 years ago.
Many of my classmates have created a long-term bond with deep friendships that will last a lifetime, and it all began here.
When many of my St. A’s friends heard that I would be delivering the commencement address they sent me text messages – well, at least those who know how to text – asking me questions. I thought the questions might have been about the great Humanities Programs, or outstanding nurses’ program or just how good were the men’s and women’s historic basketball teams? But no. They wanted to know if Bob Nadeau’s still had the best subs ever. Does the Red Arrow still serve 24 hours? They wanted to know if St. A’s really had co-ed dorms. I told them not to worry, that they were really co-ed buildings that had walls that would make President Trump envious.
So back to congratulations – St. A’s has always had conversations about the grading curve. I think that has always been overstated. But I would like to acknowledge those with a 2.9 for being in the top 10 of your class.
Also, free the ranch dressing! Free the ranch dressing!
Turning to the more serious side, I’d like to begin my remarks by mentioning a recently published book where I was asked to write the forward. The book by Paula Brown Stafford and Lisa Grimes is titled Remember Who You Are. The book’s focus is on helping women navigate the workplace, but its lessons apply to everyone. It is a perfect way to begin my remarks because the path forward starts with remembering who you are—being authentic to the values and identity you’ve begun to create, and from that base, building your brand. In my remarks, I am going to suggest a few key values that I hope will guide you and be helpful in gaining respect and stature, no matter where you land.
Advice #1 Be objective. In our hyper-political world, everyone seems to have an agenda. There is tremendous value in being the person who has the facts and keeps the best interest of the organization in the forefront. Your objectivity and fairness will make you a valued team member.
Why is objectivity so important? It is about trusting the information we use to make decisions whether in business, politics or our personal life. The information needs to be accurate, and agenda-free, which we all know is difficult in today’s environment. If you are that person who is perceived to be fair and objective, you will be listened to.
How do we achieve objectivity? It is no more complicated than truly listening to people. In other words, don’t wait your turn to argue the counter point, but actually listen and digest what the person is saying. See if you can make their argument. This is what I call “life outside the echo chamber” and it makes most of us uncomfortable, but is extremely important to do.
Being objective will lay the groundwork for becoming a key influencer—that person whose input is sought because you have facts and well-informed views. You will inspire rational dialogue, which makes everyone and everything better.
Advice #2 Maintain an Open Mind. For the last number of decades, we have seen a society focused on a singular outcome whether that be related to sports, the arts or some other endeavor. Unfortunately, many of these journeys begin with parents directing their child’s interests at a young and tender age. That model has created a myopic view and deprives individuals of the opportunity to explore their world with an open mind.
I can’t stress enough the importance of being open-minded. I changed my major 3 times, until I landed in the technology industry, which was in its infancy. No internet, no cell phones and certainly not on the verge of 5G. By being open-minded I not only began an exciting career, but I was able to embrace an industry that thrived on change. The bold, new, and unscripted frontier excited me.
My advice? Don’t be that person left behind, clinging to the status quo. Don’t lock on some goal just for the sake of achieving it because that is what you’ve always done. Don’t always see barriers. I love that that my daughter looks at opportunity and asks “why not?”
Advice #3 Life–Long Learning. You just completed your senior year finals. It is a bad name: “FINALS.” It is only the finals at St. Anselm. We need to believe in the importance of life-long learning. I believe this because I have never taken a business course, while I have been surrounded by pedigreed MBAs. Yet I was able to thrive. How so? I read constantly. I asked a lot of questions. I sought out new experiences. I learned about the dynamics of my industry. In short, I embarked on the path of life-long learning.
If you do this, the results won’t disappoint. Every day, learn something about your world, the dynamics of your industry, the big trends shaping it. Build upon the great education you have begun at St. Anselm. Consider “FINALS” your interim progress report.
Advice #4 Respect all individuals. There are many ingredients that make organizations successful but once you’ve conquered the “Market, Vision, Strategy” question, a good CEO will focus on culture. At its core, culture is about empowering all employees. Culture is not casual dress or a PowerPoint that screams, “Go team.” Culture is about creating an environment where everyone is respected and treated fairly. Everyone wants to be part of a meritocracy, recognized for their contributions.
One of my favorite stories that speaks to valuing individuals is the story of Caligula, the Roman Emperor, who managed based on a philosophy of “I don’t care if they hate me – they just have to fear me.” Unfortunately, there are too many people like that. It didn’t end well for Caligula, as he was assassinated by his own Praetorian Guard.
My take-away from Caligula? Don’t confuse the notion of leadership with power, authority and influence. Leadership is not about you. It’s about the people you lead. Leaders who create an environment of trust will also have a more productive workforce, and a kinder place to work.
Finding future leaders can be tricky. I am often asked, “When you hire, how do you know what type of leader someone will be?” I have tried not to rely on the many, many perfect resumes and impressive accomplishments. Instead I do something a bit different. I have been known to take a lead candidate out to breakfast, lunch or dinner. When I teach, I often challenge students to tell me why I do this. The common response: “To see if they have manners,” or “whether they had too much to drink.”
It is actually because I want to see how they treat the wait-staff. If they are naturally respectful, and use their simple “please” or “thank you,” it gives me insight as to what kind of person they are. When they are under the pressure of an interview, how do they treat the people serving them? It is kind of an unconscious test that has served me well.
Advice #5 Get in the Ring: Many commencement speakers talk about following your passion. Maybe in an ideal world, but I have never woken up and said, “Wow, work is my passion.” Work is a four-letter word, even if it is in part a passion. My advice though: Don’t stand on the outskirts. Get inside the ring and engage.
Today it is more important than ever to throw yourself in the ring and learn the dynamics of your industry, and a place where you can fit in. This is the first time in history we have four generations in the workforce: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. Organizations are grappling with how to deal with the changes and expectations of each category of worker.
At the end of the day, the same timeless personal traits will yield success: those who work hard, work smart and go the extra mile will be rewarded. A mentor early in my career sent me a famous quote that has been on my desk or laptop ever since. It is from Teddy Roosevelt and it has reminded me to put myself in the ring, fully engaged, and not in the peanut gallery watching from afar. Here is a small excerpt, given 1910 so it hasn’t been gendered. As our daughter who is an entrepreneur points out, women face the battles as well as men, if not harder.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
As you leave Saint Anselm you have a million thoughts and questions about what you do next. It is confusing and even overwhelming, and I’ve just added some more to think about. But let me briefly recap my advice in hopes that it will help.
I’ve recommended the following to help guide you:
- Be objective: Be a fact-finder, not a hidden agenda holder. Wear the hat that has you thinking about what is objectively best for the organization.
- Be open minded: You are young, and the possibilities are limitless. Take advantage of this moment and leave yourself open to all sorts of options. Discovery can be fun and you might surprise yourself in a good way.
- Embrace life-long learning: Saint Anselm has done a great job of getting you started, but I want to emphasize GETTING YOU STARTED. Learning is life-long!
- Respect everyone: Be the embodiment of decency, fairness and respect for all, don’t be judgmental; work is a piece of life, and you may not be aware of the burdens your colleagues may be carrying. Do this and you will help build a healthier organization. And the best part is that your attitude will multiply as others take note and do the same.
- Get in the ring and engage: It is easy to be fearful and stay on the periphery. This would be the wrong thing to do. If you are in the ring, you will learn, you will grow, you will be noted.
I believe that of all the advice I have given you, this last one is the hardest. For many, getting in the ring involves conquering fear...making a commitment. But what it mostly involves is your willingness to bet on you. You should bet that you will win because you have the right stuff. You should bet that if the ring isn't exactly right, you will call an audible and make a change. You should bet that if you don't have enough game at the start, you will learn, ask questions, and grow into the position.
If you are willing to bet on yourself, others will bet on you too. Your family will bet on you. I have a wonderful wife Elizabeth, and our children Kate, Mike and Meghan that supported, sacrificed and bet on me. I am betting on this class. I am betting on this college to have prepared you for the path ahead. A college that has taught you critical thinking, communication, integrity, community and philanthropy. I am betting on your courage, and intellect, and perseverance. So now, three simple words: Go get ‘em! Good Luck and God Bless
Baccalaureate Mass Homily by Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B.
A sincere and special welcome to all our guests and visitors today. If you live not too far away, know that we have the Eucharist, as well as times of monastic prayer each day in this abbey church, and you are always most welcome to come and join us.
Soon-to-be graduates, on this special day of yours, the Church, in her wisdom offers three readings – taken from the Acts of the Apostles, the Jewish Psalms, and St. John’s gospel. These readings are being proclaimed in parishes all around the world today, and prayed privately by millions of the faithful. But as the Devil once asked Jesus in the Gospel, our seniors (not that they are devils) might ask of these readings – “ ‘what have you to do with us?’, as we prepare to travel to and settle in new cities, undertake new jobs and challenges, embrace and welcome new people into your lives?” How is the Word of God, that is, how is Jesus Christ, speaking directly to the hearts of our seniors, and really to all of us?
Our graduates may have reflected, especially I might hope, those who have majored in English, that each reading suggests to us a different verb tense; they offer us a glimpse into the past, the present, and the future.
As our students learn in Intro to New Testament, the Acts of the Apostles was written by St. Luke who wanted to explain just what happened in the earliest years of our Church. Our first reading taken from Acts of the Apostles recounts St. Paul speaking in a synagogue in Antioch. St. Paul speaks of those events which we recalled exactly a month ago during Holy Week – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Paul is speaking not a month removed from these events, but more than 15 years after the crucifixion. He’s speaking of the past. This reading might suggest, and especially to our graduating seniors, the importance of looking back to certain past events and reflecting on the profound impact those events have had, and will continue to have on their lives.
What were the many events that brought all of you to this particular place, with these people, at this time? You might think of the parents who gave you the gift of life, the siblings and friends who shaped and influenced you, or the teachers and coaches who mentored you. Or August 27, 2015 may come to mind, that day when most of you moved into your first Saint Anselm residence hall. Perhaps you recall certain lectures that struck your mind or your emotions, or that certain professor that changed your way of looking at life. Do you remember the individual you were four years ago? Most importantly, through all of those memories and moments, can you look back and see the gentle, guiding hand of a God Who loves you? Can you, in faith, hear the voice of God calling you by name? Can you see how, through the joys and hopes, trials and sorrows, through the particular circumstances of your life, God has led you on the way to this moment, and shaped you into the person you are? St. Paul recognized it quite clearly when he said at one point, “by the grace of God I am what I am”. Believe by faith that God has shaped you here, and led you on this path, just as He led St. Paul.
The end of the first reading is repeated in the Psalm we heard sung just a few minutes ago - “You are my Son; this day I have begotten you” These words were written over 600 years before Christ’s birth and are, in fact, often used to describe the relationship between the Father and the Son in the Trinity. Yet it has another level of truth because the words of Scripture are also written and intended for us. This is the phrase that God is saying to you and to each individual in this Church this afternoon: “You are my beloved child. I am, today, loving you into existence.” How can we respond with anything less than pure joy at hearing those words? We are loved. Today. Right now. As we are. Though imperfect, though sinners, God loves us now, not despite our fallen nature, but in our fallen nature.
Each year on our campus this weekend is always a time of great rejoicing. You are being celebrated for your years of hard work and dedication. This is always a time I enjoy because I am able to see our seniors not only as students, but as sons and daughters, as siblings, as nieces and nephews, and grandchildren. I am able to hear from dozens of parents, friends, and family members how proud they are, how much they love, how far they have traveled just to hear your name and see you walk across a stage.
You are being celebrated not just for receiving a diploma, and not simply for mastering a particular course of study. Rather, you have reached the point at which you can understand, appreciate, and navigate those larger questions in life. Every parent here, can tell you that you will never receive complete answers to what life sends your way, but our sincere hope is that you are able to ask the right questions, and analyze them carefully and thoughtfully. You have been given, through your education at Saint Anselm, the tools to help you succeed in a life well lived. It has been our obligation as educators at a Catholic college to offer you the best expression of our faith and to help you in seeking out and reflecting with profit on the most meaningful questions of your life. You likely all graduate sensing and facing more questions than those with which you began in the fall of 2015. But hopefully you are now better equipped than before to recognize the Truth, that is Christ, when you see Him, to accept the Truth, to cling to the Truth, and to live out the Truth at all times.
And so Saint Anselm College sends you forth, confident in your abilities. We quite ceremoniously nudge you from this ivory tower, knowing that you have all the tools you need to both face with skill and courage, the challenges of life, and to represent your alma mater well.
There is that question that most of you have been asked dozens of times since the beginning of your senior year – ‘what are you going to do after graduation?’ People take an interest in your answer because they know of your abilities to create positive change in all you undertake. They know you can serve with great skill in that small corner of the vineyard which God assigns you. They are interested in your life and how you choose to live that life.
But this question, “What will you be doing?” for many, raises the heart rate. It can inspire the fear of the unknown. But one only needs to listen to the words offered for your future that Christ proclaims this day in the Gospel, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God, have faith also in me”. This faith, which God offers us as a gift, has the capacity to change your life and the lives of those who encounter you in a remarkable way. Faith in God will get you through the darkest days of life, and only make brighter the very best of the days ahead of you. A life shaped and touched by Christ transforms into a life of true joy and lasting peace. This life is not necessarily easy to find, but it is more than worth the effort of the search.
So what are you going to do? And far more importantly, who are you going to be? The lives you lead, the life you choose to lead, will be a reflection of many things, including your four years here at Saint Anselm. If we have succeeded in your education, in handing on to you the best we have to offer, We pray and hope and believe that you will walk in the right way, seeking the truth, and that you will truly live a good life, one which leads to life eternal.