The Catholic University of America

Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center
May 11, 2007

The Statement of Aims and Goals of The Catholic University of America begins with a phrase describing the university as "a community of scholars, both faculty and students, set apart to discover, preserve and impart the truth in all its forms." While we all love and embrace that description, commencement weekend is a time when we also realize that The Catholic University of America is a "community of people." We see happy, excited students surrounded by loving parents, families and friends. We see faculty members and staff, proud to have played a role in the events being celebrated. We see a university full of life and energy, commemorating accomplishments realized and goals achieved.

As president, I want to welcome all of you to this commencement weekend, parents, families and friends of this year's graduates; faculty, administrators, students and staff of the university; and, especially, members of the Class of 2007. We are here today in the Pryzbyla Center to acknowledge academic achievement, honors rightly conferred and richly deserved. This is a moment in a series of celebrations already begun, a rite of passage. It is a good moment, a wonderful moment that identifies the best of what has been accomplished here. I hope that all of us can experience in the tradition that we continue at The Catholic University of America a pause in the festivities that reminds us of our reason for coming to CUA: a university education and experience that has been, at once, both intellectually challenging and truly Catholic. You are here today, a percentage of your graduating class, to bear witness to the fact that you have responded well to the invitation we extended to you only a few short years ago to be the very best you can be.

The real test of what you have accomplished, however, is not a medal, a certificate, a prize or diploma that you receive and can hold or see. The real test of what you have accomplished is yet to be seen. What you are and will be, what you have and will do is the ultimate assurance that your time at Catholic has not been in vain. And that will be the richest reward and the best prize.

In your name, graduates, and as president I want to thank God for your lives and for your gifts. I want to thank your parents and spouses/children/family members who have generously sacrificed so much to give you this opportunity to further your education. I want to thank your deans and faculty and staff, and in a special way, Dr. Convey and Dr. Merkel, who have helped you reach higher and further than you ever imagined or dreamed possible. The best gratitude will be your decision today to keep reaching high.

You are surrounded today by people who have "loved you to this moment." There are many others who have also done so. Take the time to remember them. Take the time to look into the eyes and faces of those around you and see what YOU mean to them. And, like a mirror, let them see what they mean to you. Today is, indeed, about academic achievement and accomplishment. It is about success. It is also about faith and hope and love. And, as St. Paul writes, the greatest of these is love. Congratulations, graduates and parents, and God bless you always.

Very Reverend David M. O'Connell, C.M., J.C.D., LL.D.