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Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago Inaugural Commencement

Remarks by Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD, at the Inaugural Commencement Ceremony for Arrupe College

August 12, 2017

Good afternoon, graduates of Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago! Buenas tardes, y bienvenidos a todos los miembros de sus familias y a todos sus amigos que han venido para participar en nuestra celebración! Compartimos su alegría y su orgullo al contemplar a estos estudiantes tan trabajadores que representan nuestros nuevos graduados. Gracias por estar aquí con nosotros.

Graduates—that has a great sound to it…right? Let’s be clear; today is all about you. Today, we are here to celebrate you, our inaugural class of graduates from Arrupe College. I am honored to join your families and friends, and fellow Loyolans, along with Father Katsouros and the dedicated faculty and staff in Arrupe College, in congratulating you on achieving this special milestone. You have worked hard and sacrificed much along the way to arrive at this extraordinary moment. Celebrate it, embrace it—you have earned it.

I am also grateful to Cardinal Cupich and Cook County Board President Preckwinkle for joining us this afternoon and for your strong, unwavering support of these talented women and men. Thank you so much for being here and sharing this special celebration with us.

You, our graduates, are a uniquely gifted and motivated group. You applied to Arrupe College—or were encouraged to apply by your high school counselors, family, and friends, even if you were concerned that you would not be accepted. Why? Because deep down, you possessed the drive and you certainly had the dreams. You knew that this Arrupe College program would give you a chance to learn, to grow, and to challenge yourselves in new and exciting ways. You also knew, within your core, your soul, that you were bold enough, tenacious enough to realize that you—yes, each and every one of you—can—no must—go forth and set the world on fire in your own unique way. Today, in this moment, proves that you were right!

You, Arrupe College Class of 2017, the first graduating class of Arrupe College, embody the Jesuit spirit of going to the frontier, the unexplored territory where you pave the path for yourselves and others who follow. Besides being among a very select group of students who completed an associate's degree in under three years, you also created the Arrupe College chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the academic honor society for two-year colleges. You participated in service projects at Misericordia, Labre Homeless Ministries, and Loyola University-sponsored food and goods drives, and you went to Springfield to lobby for the funding of MAP grants. And…you inspired not only the beautiful, original artwork in the lobby of the college entitled Jesus of Arrupe, but you also inspired all of us and those that follow in your footsteps.

Your experiences in the classroom, on spiritual retreats, and in summer-enrichment programs have prepared you well no matter which path you next choose to follow.

As you transition from being an Arrupe College student to being a graduate, I ask you to remember that you, like all of us, have a tremendous opportunity—and I dare say, responsibility—to do something extraordinary with all you have received. I encourage you, wherever your life’s journey takes you, to have the courage to continue reaching deep within yourself, take risks even if it is uncomfortable, confront ambiguity and turn it into clarity of purpose, and tackle the societal issues that are so difficult and divisive in our world today. Our Jesuit, Catholic mission, the one that has been so much a part of you, is rooted in a commitment to prepare you for an extraordinary life through an education that inspires you. That inspiration should both motivate and challenge you to make the world a better place by being of service to it and to each other.

Yes, our founder, St. Ignatius and Father Pedro Arrupe set the bar high, but their spirituality and profound but practical guidance should continue to serve as the model of fortitude and inspiration for service that is at the heart of what you—no we—must do. Today, however, we are especially looking to you, our extraordinary new graduates, to take up this challenge and embrace the leadership required for transforming our neighborhoods, our communities, and our world.

Graduates, we are all so very proud of you, and we know that you will continue to be amazing. As we conclude this Commencement ceremony, I would like to offer one final gesture of respect and gratitude...first graduating class of Arrupe College, I tip my hat to you—congratulations!

Congratulations, graduates!