Emmanuel Celebrates Graduates, Honorees at 2009 Commencement
June 15, 2009
In the opening remarks of the ceremony, College President Sister Janet Eisner, SND commended members of the Class of 2009 for continuing and strengthening the mission of the College throughout their years here and reminded them of how powerful education truly is.
"I know that you appreciate the gifts you have received from faculty, administrative staff, and especially from your family," she said. "For one of the greatest gifts you could ever receive is the gift of an education. Nothing, no adversity, no misfortune, no economic downturn can ever take away a person's education. For habits of the mind and habits of the heart formed here at Emmanuel last a lifetime."
Dennis Lehane, bestselling author of novels such as Darkness, Take My Hand; Sacred; Gone Baby Gone; Prayers for Rain; Mystic River; and Shutter Island, delivered the Commencement Address and was presented with an honorary degree from the College. Honorary degrees were also awarded to Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Guzzi and Catherine Costello '64, Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Chemistry and Founder of the Mass Spectrometry Resource and the Cardiovascular Proteomics Center at Boston University School of Medicine.
Lehane's address to the graduates was one of optimism and confidence. Lehane began his address by advising the graduates to make the world a place that they would like to live in. He noted that the way the world is today is not how it has to or will always be.
"Think, that's all I ask of you. If you take nothing away from today, think for yourself," he said. "Ask yourself something; what kind of world do you want? Not what kind of world are you told you should want, not what kind of world did your parents want or their parents because we don't know anything, if we did we wouldn't be handing you the world we are handing you now."
Lehane also discussed the concept of society's ever-changing commitment to technology. While he admitted that he is often somewhat reluctant to utilizing new technology, he also noted its benefits.
"Were things simpler when I was 22? Maybe so, but who said simpler is better? When did that become a concept worthy of being held up beside ‘the unexamined life is not worth living' and Einstein's theory of relativity?" said Lehane. "Simpler is not better, simpler is just simpler and often times it's highly suspect."
Conveying a feeling of hope for the future, Lehane concluded his address by reminding the graduates to remain independent in their thoughts and to do their best to better the world we live in today.
"Hope is home and home is what we are all searching for," he said. "So I ask as you move into the adventure that is the rest of your life, that you never put out into the world what you would not want in your home and that you think for yourselves, believe in yourselves, and that you never, ever, ever believe you have all the answers because you don't, and neither does anyone else, embrace that."
Undergraduate student Charla Lauriston '09 spoke on behalf of the graduating arts and sciences students. She listed notable events that the Class of 2009 has witnessed while at Emmanuel, and reminded her fellow graduates of their ability and calling to improve the world they are now entering.
"As freshmen, we empathized with students from New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina interrupted their education, and still many of us traveled down there to help in whatever way we could. By the time we were sophomores, Pluto was no longer a planet and we were brought back down to earth with the tragedy of Virginia Tech," Lauriston said. "When we were juniors, our country continued to be at war with Iraq and Afghanistan and, although we supported our troops, we knew that something had to change. And then, in November of our senior year some of us voted in our first presidential election and we witnessed the historic election of Barack Obama, our country's first African American president. We have studied what the world could look like, what it can be and what we have the ability to do and for that we are much better off."
Graduate Studies student Eve Montague '09 was also selected to speak on behalf of the graduating class. Montague commended her fellow graduates' dedication to education as life-long adult learners.
"Here at Emmanuel we have been challenged to take responsibility, to respect the right to disagree and to celebrate successes that are not always ours alone," she said. "It is now our task to take what we have learned here and use it in our communities in a manner that will excite others to learn. We will make mistakes, we will have bad decisions, and we will want to hide away. It is then how we handle those moments that will speak loudest to our character and learning."