Ambassador Roemer Delivers Graduate School Commencement Address

Author: William G. Gilroy

Timothy Roemer Prepares to Speak at Graduate Commencement Ceremonies

The University of Notre Dame’s Graduate School recognized 288 master’s and 159 doctoral degree recipients and presented several special awards during Commencement ceremonies today (Saturday) in the North Dome of the Joyce Center.

Timothy Roemer, United States Ambassador to India, delivered the Commencement address. He also was recognized as the recipient of the Graduate School’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Roemer, who earned master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from Notre Dame, told the graduates that that they were leaving Notre Dame prepared to take on the challenges of the world, although the world is a much different place than it was when he graduate from the University 25 years ago.

“Twenty-five years ago, the major events of the day were driven and influenced by nations and governments,” he said. “Yet today, transnational actors and actions play just as important a role as governments and nations in ways that are often unpredictable and unannounced.

“A pastor in Florida can threaten to burn a Quran, which is picked up and broadcast by an Iranian news channel that is watched in Kashmir, resulting in protests, riots and several needless deaths.

“Social media like Facebook, which was intended to help you stay in touch with your friends, can be used to keep revolutions alive and bring down a government as we saw by recent events in the Middle East.”

Graduate School Commencement University Mace

Roemer also described today’s world as one of dynamic, overlapping circles, with the intersection of the circles signifying the benefits derived from collaborations and partnerships between countries. Citing the so-called “Arab spring,” he also today’s world as one characterized by the “relentless march of democracy.”

“These are some of the characteristics of the world that you are about to enter as you leave Notre Dame,” the ambassador told the graduates. "Who knows how it will look in 25 years when one of you is standing in my shoes and giving this commencement address?

“Regardless of how the world looks or changes in 25 years, you have the education to take on the challenges of the world today and in the future. You have the abilities and talent to see and take advantage of the opportunities that will be present from an ever-changing world. And you have the Notre Dame values to make a difference, to make the world a better place.”

The recipients of several Graduate School awards also were recognized during the Commencement ceremony.

After the Commencement ceremony, graduates were congratulated by their advisers, family, and friends at a lunch reception in the Jordan Hall of Science.

Originally published by William G. Gilroy at on May 21, 2011.