Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.: 2022 Graduate School Commencement Charge and Benediction

Author: Notre Dame News

Dean Carlson, Interim Provost Maziar, family and friends, it’s great to be with you. 

Graduates of the class of 2022, after two years of unprecedented challenges, you did it, and this is your day. But, while this accomplishment is truly your own, you did not do it all on your own. You may have done the studying, but your families and loved ones did the sweating and the stressing along with you. They cheered you on at your successes and cheered you up at your setbacks. Many of them are here with us today, and they have been behind you every step of the way. So, to the mothers and fathers, siblings and spouses, friends and relatives: Thank you and congratulations to you. This day belongs to you as well. Graduates, let’s stand and applaud your families and friends.

You are a distinguished class, boasting many accolades and accomplishments in every field and discipline.  In addition to your accomplishments within your respective disciplines, you have learned how to meet the rigorous standards of your academic programs while managing the extraordinary special challenges brought on by the pandemic.  You probably deserve a second degree for that. We won’t give that to you, however. But we hope the lessons you learned and the adaptability you’ve shown will serve you in coming years.

Your degrees represent a major step in your own lives, but also for Notre Dame. We’re a university noted in many ways for our wonderful undergraduate programs. But in recent years we’ve taken great steps in research and graduate study and you represent those accomplishments and you represent Notre Dame.  We are tremendously proud to call you our graduates and we know you will represent this university well.

Your degrees represent what you, through your hard work and perseverance, have accomplished, and your promise for the future. You have the right to expect much, but the world has the right to expect much of you.

Our Commencement speaker, Secretary Moniz, challenged us all about the great challenges ahead for our world and our nation. And we urge you to lend your shoulder to the wheel with regard to those challenges.

We hope you will use the advantages of the education you received here for the common good. We hope that you will use your talents and skills not simply to serve your own interests but to care for the neediest and create a more just society. We hope that you acquired here not only the knowledge to make a good living, but the wisdom to live a good life.

A critical part of living a good life is finding the way in which you are called to use your learning for a purpose beyond yourself. As Pope Francis has said, “We must not forget that true power, at whatever level, is service.” My hope for each of you is that you find and direct your learning and efforts to service.

Graduates, we congratulate you, we celebrate you and we wish you every success.  Thank you for your presence here with us.  We look forward to learning more of the great things you will do with what you have learned here at Notre Dame.

Speaking of moving on, I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank and acknowledge Dean Carlson.  Laura Carlson has recently accepted a position as Provost at the University of Delaware, and will be leaving us very soon.  We will miss Laura very much, but we congratulate her on this new opportunity and we congratulate the University of Delaware on making such a wise choice. We know that you will do great things there, Laura, as you have done here. We could not be more grateful for your invaluable contributions as Vice President and Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, and as a faculty member of our Psychology department—you are an exemplary scholar, teacher and administrator.  We could not be more grateful for your colleagueship, your friendship, and for all you have done for Notre Dame and our students. Our prayers and very best wishes go with you as you begin this exciting new chapter.  Remember Laura that you always have a home at Notre Dame.  Please join me thanking Dean Carlson.

Let us close our ceremony with a brief prayer:

Let us pray.

Of all the gifts you have bestowed on us, Lord, None is greater than giving us intellects to seek truth, to learn and to understand your creation.

We thank you for these graduates who have labored so hard to learn and to understand. We ask that you guide them to use what they have learned to go forth and heal, enlighten and unify a world deeply in need. We pray this in your name.  Amen

Originally published by Notre Dame News at on May 14, 2022.