Aaron Dominguez, Provost of The Catholic University of America 
Commencement Remarks 
Virtual Conferral of Degrees
May 16, 2020

Some call it “persistence”, others call it “diligence,” still others describe it as “industriousness.”

No matter what label you use, this value describes the effort to do one's part, while keeping faith and reliance in God.

In theological terms, persistence and faith are two sides of a mystery. We do not know, despite our best efforts, how everything will work out. But persistence, when combined with faith, is the recipe for success.

I can think of no better description of the Class of 2020 in these times than this: you, both individually and collectively, are persistence personified.

Think of what you have encountered in your 4 years at Catholic University, and perhaps the unexpected twists and turns your journey may have taken:

  • Perhaps you came to Catholic with the dream of becoming the newest Bill Gates, Elon Musk, or Oprah Winfrey by taking the business world by storm, but you arrive here this morning proud of your accomplishments in the humanities or social sciences.
  • Perhaps you enrolled in your first semester here with the hope of learning all about the mysteries of the universe and becoming the next Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking, but now you are looking forward to caring for the wellbeing of clients in need.
  • Perhaps you started at a college somewhere else, yet through a combination of hard work and a changed perspective, you now stand amongst the ranks of Cardinals past, present, and future as a member of the graduating class of 2020.
  • Perhaps there are people on this campus that you never thought you would meet, or those who intimidated you when you first met them because they were so different, but now they are the people you know will always be in your life.

No matter what your original plans were when you started at Catholic University, you have arrived at this moment with new dreams, new hopes, and new expectations. You have persisted, and you have succeeded.

You have also lived in a beautiful and wonderful city that has persisted.

In your time at Catholic, you have watched Washington, D.C., celebrate its first hockey championship ever, its first women’s basketball championship ever, and its first baseball championship in 95 years!

Each of these teams possessed the motivation, discipline, concentration, responsibility, and devotedness to get the job done…  Doesn’t this persistence sound familiar?

You have seen government shutdowns, gridlock, and partisanship that may have frustrated you into action yourself, and you have seen those moments when a community comes together and makes things right.

You have been part of a pandemic the likes of which we as a world have not seen in any of our lifetimes, yet you are here today, celebrating your accomplishments and ready to enter a world in need of healing, rebuilding, and hope.

Now, Class of 2020, as the newest alumni of this University, you are called to remain persistent and filled with faith. This is your defining characteristic.

You must continue to take leaps of faith as you have done here, especially when you do not know where you will be landing when you take that leap. But know that the Lord is there to catch you when you do.

You must bring into action, bring into being, what you have learned here. Apply what you have learned to a world that needs you.

You must be open to the changes that will inevitably need to be made to your grand plan, and recognize that in those moments, faith will steer you through.

You are called to be a source of healing, rebuilding, and hope that a post-pandemic world will be thirsting for.

When you remain persistent, when you remain diligent, when you remain industrious, everything will work out, and your success will be assured. And with your success, the world succeeds.

Your persistence fills me with hope.

Thank you, and God Bless You All.