Graduate Student Association Reception

Sep 01, 2010

For 95 years, Marywood has been focused on developing God-given potential and leadership in service to others for the life of the world. For 88 of those years, since 1922, Marywood has offered graduate education.

You have a tremendous opportunity before you to become a special part of a University that has long been the leading provider of quality graduate education in the region, as well as the first to offer Ph.D. degrees. In May, 385 men and women graduated from Marywood University with Master's and Doctoral degrees. You can be assured that we have made a firm commitment and an extensive investment to offer you strong, rewarding graduate programs that support your professional goals and also provide you with skills for building a life rich in meaning and significance.

As president, I am committed to strengthening the collective identity and impact of graduate students here at Marywood. This fall there are almost 1,200 graduate students enrolled and, of these, 50% are full-time. Whether full-time or part-time, I urge you to stay connected. Work with the Graduate Student Association to make your presence increasingly felt on this campus. There are so many possibilities available to you, and I encourage you to make the most of them.

One sure way to do this is to engage with the University community. In essence, participate in events and programs, both graduate-focused and University-wide. As leaders, that is part of your role here. Embrace it, and be present for others-in the process, you may discover new gifts in yourself, and you, most certainly, will contribute to the life of the whole.

All of you are balancing many responsibilities and demands on your time. I am keenly aware of that and I hope that you will support one another and experience the support of this learning/teaching community as you pursue your educational goals.

There will be times in which you will be challenged and stretched. There will be times as well when you will experience the exhilaration of achievement. In all of these moments, stay in touch with your inner strength and keep before you awareness of the power of your personal integrity. Above all, hang on to your dreams. For, as both Samuel Johnson and Robert Browning are credited with saying, "Our aspirations are our possibilities."

Recently I saw the film "Invictus" and it reminded me of how important it is to be guided by a sustaining vision. Nelson Mandela was able to hang on to his dream of ending apartheid throughout decades of imprisonment because he was empowered by the message of self-mastery in William Henley's poem. Think about these words as you begin this semester:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

We need leaders who are "unconquerable, unbowed, unafraid," willing to do the important work necessary to overcome challenges, creatively and compassionately, one person and one barrier at a time. It is the mission of this University to help you to grow into that kind of leader, sustained and directed by the core values we hold dear: service, empowerment, respect for each person, Catholic identity, and an ongoing commitment to excellence.

One day, you will add your name to the ranks of those who earned advanced degrees from Marywood University. In the meantime, I invite each of you to become a vital part of our University community, embracing every chance to grow and realize your dreams and potential. Our global society and increasingly interdependent world await your leadership, your passion, your knowledge, your vision. Have a healthy, happy, and productive semester!