To the Class of 2020 at the Matriculation Ceremony on Move-In Day, Friday, Aug. 26:
Cabrini University invites you to a journey that will help you to grow in patience, soar in positivity, excel in productivity, and live with purpose. Mother Cabrini’s gift of mission, an education of the heart, is an essential part of our commitment to each other and it connects us to purpose and our identity as members of Cabrini University.
First, academic excellence is about being intentional about learning for academic success and success in life. Just as important, it’s about the pursuit of knowledge and creating meaning and finding purpose in it. Excellence isn’t about perfection—it’s about not giving up on ourselves or each other. I encourage you to seek out faculty and staff to bounce off ideas, join research projects, and think of new ways to examine persistent problems. We welcome you to challenge us as faculty with your millennial perspectives and ideas.
Academic excellence is about asking lots of questions and ultimately staying committed to staying the course. It’s about pursuing clarity and integrity in our thinking, writing, and research. It’s about the pursuit of artistic beauty and refinement. It allows brilliance and talents to shine and inspire others. As we prune each other’s thinking we provoke new patterns of awareness and blaze into new pathways of possibility.
The next gift of the mission is leadership, which is rooted in a model of service for the common good. Do you have new ideas to organize and mobilize students for action, or finish a project, or more efficient methods of getting things done? Consider making it your intention to lead during a class discussion, community project, or student organization. Allow yourself to be guided as you are encouraged to lead.
The last leg of the mission inspires social justice—we are encouraged to actively and deliberately use our gifts, knowledge, and leadership to improve society and our world. Social justice work requires a sustained purpose.
Here are few words from social justice leaders.
Angela Davis once said, “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”
Ella Jo Baker said it best in a speech given to in 1974:
"Friends, brothers, and sisters in the struggle for human dignity and freedom, I am here to represent the struggle that has gone on for 300 or more years a struggle to be recognized as citizens in the country in which we were born … I had to learn that hitting back with my fist, one individual, was not enough … It takes organization, dedication, and it takes the willingness to stand by and do what has to be done, when it has to be done…. A nice gathering like today is not enough. You have to go back and reach out to your neighbors who don’t speak to you and you have to reach out to your friends and get them to understand that they, as well, as you and I cannot be free until we can get people to recognize that they themselves have to make the struggle and have to make the fight for freedom every day in the year, every year until they win it. Thank you.” (Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, 2011, December 19)
You can have no social justice without purpose. We must become the change we want to see. Cabrini University threads this theme in all we do.
Welcome to a journey that will allow you to shape and create your path and purpose. This is a time for you to answer the existential questions of life like Who am I now? And who do I want to be tomorrow? Over the next few years you'll be introduced to many versions of YOU—and you’ll get to decide through all of that human complexity, who YOU are and WANT to BE. You’ll get to explore notions of what it means to be an American as the second decade of the 21st century unfolds.
I invite all of us here today to join in this journey of purpose. Stay curious about what you don’t know or understand YET. Stay passionate about the many possibilities that await you. Commit to yourself that you will stay the course. Help others fit in and make the places where you live and work more inclusive and welcoming for more people … curiosity and service invites purpose to find us.
And lastly, choose JOY! Joy resides deep within the eternal part of all of us. Know that you can create meaning in your life in any circumstance. We can even choose joy in the face of adversity. Gratitude helps us to do this. It is a portal to joy, patience, positivity, productivity and PURPOSE. Find a reason to be thankful for each and every experience and every person who crosses your path.
We are all filled with joy in this moment to welcome the Class of 2020 to Cabrini University. LET’S LIVE WITH PURPOSE!