Sharing a few anecdotes from his upbringing and his work with President George W. Bush, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow gave five tips to graduates at Catholic University’s 118th Commencement to help them live a bold, full life: Think, Go Off-Road, Commit, Get Out and Love.
More than 900 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees were conferred at the May 12 ceremony on the east steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
“Think not only of what it means to love but what it means to be loved,” Snow told the graduates in his address titled “Reason, Faith, Vocation.” “I have a lot of experience with that. Since the news that I have cancer again, I’ve heard from thousands and thousands of people and I have been the subject of untold prayer. I’m telling you right now: You’re young [and you feel] bullet-proof and invincible. [But] never underestimate the power of other people’s love and prayer.”
Snow closed his speech with a reminder that life is a gift.
“Wherever you are and whatever you do, never forget at this moment, and every moment forward, you have a precious blessing,” he said. “You’ve got the breath of life. No matter how lousy things may seem, you’ve got the breath of life. And while God doesn’t promise tomorrow, he does promise eternity.”
Before conferring two honorary degrees, Catholic University’s president jokingly dubbed them “the Tony Awards.” Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., awarded an honorary doctorate to Tony Snow for his contributions to the fields of public service and journalism. He also conferred an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree on Anthony Williams, former mayor of Washington, D.C., for “his indispensable role in ushering in an era of financial stability, growth and confidence in our nation’s capital.”
Father O’Connell bestowed the President’s Medal — given for extraordinary service to the Church, nation or university — to Mabel McGlothlin, the recently retired senior executive assistant to CUA’s provost, who for almost 30 years was a key member of the university’s administrative staff.
The President’s Award, traditionally given at Commencement to one outstanding graduating
senior, was presented to Megan Payne of Elkton, Md., a biomedical engineering major. She compiled a 3.89 grade point average, was captain of the women’s field hockey team in 2006, was president of the CUA chapter of the Society of Women Engineers in 2006–2007 and was active in many other campus organizations.
A separate commencement ceremony was held on May 25 inside the basilica for the more than 250 graduates of Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law. U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson delivered the main address to those assembled. Honorary doctoral degrees were presented to Nicholson and to Rev. Donald J. Harrington C.M., the president of St. John’s University in New York.
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