Graduate School Celebrates Its Degree Recipients at Commencement 2015

Author: Mary Hendriksen

5 Graduate students filling the Compton Family Ice Arena.

The University of Notre Dame Graduate School recognized 437 master’s and 245 doctoral degree recipients and presented several awards during Commencement ceremonies Saturday (May 16) in the Compton Family Ice Arena.

Dr. Jane McAuliffe, a scholar of the Quran and early Islamic history, former president of Bryn Mawr College, and current director of the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, delivered the commencement address.

In her address, McAuliffe first described two important trends in higher education: learner-centered pedagogy and university internationalization. Some recent experiments in online education and competency-based education, she said, have been “over hyped,” and there are certainly upsides and downsides of university internationalization; yet, she firmly believes that we are on the cusp of the most exciting period of higher education. That confidence, McAuliffe said, is based on one concept: “learning.”

5 Dr. Jane McAuliffe delivering the commencement address.

“But the promise of learner-centered pedagogy and of global networks of learning will only succeed if they reinforce rather than undermine the core functions of our best educational institutions: the nurture and formation of human persons, the unfettered search for knowledge on every possible front and the persistent pursuit of public benefit and social good,” she said. “These core functions constitute the measuring stick with which we can assess all the disruptive technologies and all the transnational initiatives that we face today and that we will face tomorrow.”

Graduates of Notre Dame, McAuliffe noted, are “particularly well-equipped” to wield and utilize that measuring stick.

5 Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame.

“You have been part of an academic community that takes student formation seriously, that even speaks of it in vocational terms. You have undertaken research in an institution that values the search for truth, that can look to a legacy of philosophical and theological reflection that finds beauty in that search far beyond its utilitarian benefits. And you have chosen to conduct your scholarly endeavors in a Catholic university that cares, one whose commitment to social justice and human betterment infuses all that it does.”

At the ceremony, the Graduate School also recognized the winners of several annual awards—including the Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Awards, the Distinguished Alumnus Award, the James A. Burns, CSC faculty Award, and the Director of Graduate Studies Award.