Charge to the Class of 2015
Delivered at Notre Dame’s 170th University Commencement Ceremony held May 17, 2015, in Notre Dame Stadium
Class of 2015, you leave Notre Dame with many great achievements and memorable moments. One that will always remain is that you will always be the class that helped us send Father Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., to his final rest with God. As long as I live, I will cherish the memory of many of you standing shoulder to shoulder, quietly and reverently on a very cold day, along the path from the Basilica to Holy Cross cemetery, to pay tribute on Father Ted’s final journey across campus.
And so, as my charge to you today, I will read Father Ted’s charge to the class of 1987, his final class as president of Notre Dame. I quote:
“We trust that the values you’ve learned here, the joy of truth, the exhilaration of beauty, the strength of goodness, the passion for justice, the quiet courage born of prayer, the love and compassion we owe our fellow human beings, the modesty and humility that our human frailty dictates to us, the inner dignity of all things truly human, even before they are born and not ending until they die.
“We trust that all of these intellectual and moral qualities will take deeper root in your lives, that they will grow through you and in you in all the days ahead, to enrich each one of you as a person, that most beautiful of God’s creations, and to add luminosity to your lives in a world that is often dark.
“Let us agree that we shall never forget one another, and whatever happens, remember how good it felt when we all here together, united by a good and decent feeling, which made us better people — better probably than we would otherwise have been.”
As Bishop Rhoades blesses you in a few moments, I know Father Ted will join him in blessing the class of 2015 — in another way, his last class at Notre Dame.
As you go forth from here, you will take many different paths, but always remember: You will always be in our prayers at Notre Dame and, whatever your successes or challenges you face, you will always have a home at Notre Dame to refresh your soul and refresh your spirit.
God bless you all.
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
President, University of Notre Dame