Good morning fellow candidates, families, friends, faculty, staff, and alumni of The Catholic University of America. This is truly a remarkable occasion. When degree candidates were surveyed a few weeks ago, most of us said we did not want a virtual ceremony, but instead want to process from McMahon Hall to the east side of the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to appropriately be honored and celebrated. However, we have all had this date circled on our calendars for a long time, and we did not want it to come and go without acknowledgement. I want to emphasize what Ms. Roane stated moments ago — that the University is committed to doing everything it can to stage a ceremony on campus, in the shadow of the Shrine, in August.
Looking back on these four years I could not be happier that my parents and I had two factors of evaluation at the forefront of our minds after the academics and location were considered. These factors were (1) how often are students talking to one another on campus and (2) how many of them wore their college gear? If students were in constant conversation on campus then I knew that campus life was a friendly one. And, if students were widely repping their university, then I knew their student population was a proud one.
My goodness, is our community friendly and proud of the school we are graduating from! The Catholic University community, consisting of faculty, staff, students, and most importantly the Class of 2020, was my greatest joy and has been what I missed the most since Spring Break. Thanks to the Catholic University community I have grown leaps and bounds academically, professionally, and personally. It was this community that pushed me to do my best in the classroom, at some points simply so I could understand their references in conversations over Thursday night chicken nuggets in the student restaurant. It was this community that pushed me to find my professional niche, which is why I am so confident that our class will be so successful in the professional world during these uncertain times. And it was this community that helped me with the balance between work and enjoying college life, developing new passions, and in my ever growing relationship with Our Lord. The Catholic University of America, and especially its kind and proud community, has meant the world to me these past four years and will continue to be close to my heart now that we have graduated.
Whatever degree you will receive today, be excited and be proud that you are a graduate of THE Catholic University of America.