Welcome everyone! It’s wonderful to see that so many family and friends were able to accompany our students today. Will all family and friends please stand and be recognized?
Thank you for making that extra effort to be here; it’s an important day to be together. We always want you to feel welcome and at home here at Cabrini College.
Today, our first-year students officially matriculate or enroll into the class of 2015.
Our students who have come from other institutions are here, also matriculating into Cabrini, to join their respective classes.
On behalf of your new colleagues, our proud alumni, our stellar faculty, and our committed staff, it is my honor to welcome you to Cabrini College.
All of the new students with us this afternoon are joining a vibrant, caring community, which is what the Matriculation ceremony also symbolizes. So what does it mean to join the Cabrini College community?
Let’s begin with Cabrini’s mission statement, entitled “education of the heart;” four important and hope-filled words, education of the heart.
In its entirety, the College’s mission statement, comprised of two sentences, reads:
“Education of the heart” is a phrase and a philosophy passed on to us by the college’s namesake, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. Central to Mother Cabrini’s idea of a liberal arts education was the preparation of a student for his or her mission in life. You are joining a community that is dedicated to helping you prepare for your unique mission in life.
So what is an education of the heart? Perhaps it is better to ask, “What does your heart hope to learn?” because connecting your head to heart is a subtext to the education of the heart. Mother Cabrini envisioned the preparation of a student for his or her mission in life.
In her exact words, that mission was to “contribute to the glory of God and the church, to the prosperity of the country, to the well-being of society, and to the happiness of the family.” Now, that’s a tall order!
Educator Thomas Taafee had some thoughts I think might be helpful to hear, and which I think balance the enormity of mother Cabrini’s hope for you:
“We may take heart. We may lose heart. Hearts may be at times heavy. Hearts may be at times broken. We may be faint-hearted, half-hearted, whole-hearted, weak-hearted, or lion-hearted. And when people talk of being sure of something, they may say that they know it by heart. In Catholic Social Teaching, we open our hearts to the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed—the shades of the world.”
A few moments ago, you heard from Danielle Alio on the importance of social justice. Danielle challenged herself in taking a mission trip to Taiwan and South Korea, meeting with Filipino and Vietnamese migrant workers, victims of oppression and injustice, nearly 10,000 miles from Cabrini and her home.
The experiences she shared with you were the result of opportunities that she pursued. She then embraced the chance to educate her mind and heart by engaging with those far away communities. She learned, firsthand, what the people she met endure and feel every day—daily lives that are vastly different from hers.
She then did another brave thing and shared those experiences with you, in a way that I hope inspired you to experience a piece of her passion. Possibly it also engaged your heart.
Engaging heart and mind, head and heart, a Cabrinian education is unique in this way, and we are greatly enriched by the community partners who work in solidarity with our students, faculty, and staff.
To mention a few, our faculty and staff—along with our community partners in Norristown—have enriched lives. Our colleagues at Catholic Relief Services have expanded minds, and those living at St. Phillip’s mission in Swaziland have touched hearts.
All have fostered a deeper understanding of what “service beyond one’s self” means, what being engaged citizens of the world mean; to more clearly envision what one’s unique mission in life is. Within every moment of learning, educated hearts create the possibility for transformative learning.
I urge you to open you minds and hearts to such deep learning: learning that sharpens your senses, develops your critical-thinking ability, allows you to understand different perspectives, raises new questions, and hones your ability to articulate your views and to advocate for meaningful change, all within the framework of the Cabrinian values of respect, vision, community, and dedication to excellence.
An educated heart is exponential. The growing never ends. We can never educate ourselves to a point of knowing all.
It is simply an extraordinary—but nonetheless exciting—quest, a journey upon which you embark, one that was shaped by your personal journey prior to Cabrini, and continues as you now become a Cabrini student.
Cabrini students know an educated heart belongs to an eternal scholar—a lifelong learner. This is what only serious study and active, reflective learning can achieve. Today, you open the academic door to educate your hearts.
Let’s think back to the college’s mission statement. Remember some of the phrases: academic excellence, leadership development, and a commitment to social justice.
These are the hallmarks of a Cabrini education, and will result in heartfelt engagements with others in this community, preparing you for your future lives as educated, caring, and engaged citizens of the world.
Class of 2015 and all of our newfound family, welcome to the Cabrini College community and may God bless you always.
President Marie Angelella George Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011