Remarks of Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J. Marquette University Commencement Exercises
May 19, 2013
Marquette trustees, distinguished guests, parents, families and, most importantly, members of the Class of 2013, greetings on this auspicious day in the life of our University.
We gather here with appropriate, justifiable pride to celebrate the accomplishments of a remarkable group of young people. Since their talents flourished here at Marquette only after many more years of love and nurturing at home, our gratitude goes first to the parents and the families in attendance today. Parents and families, Marquette's newest sons and daughters were once only yours. You pointed them down the path that led to today's commencement. You unlocked what was deep within them- the bearings to navigate their days on Marquette's campus. Then you let go of their hand all those semesters ago. Now, look what your love has done.
Members of the class of 2013, please take a moment, for me, to acknowledge your first, best teachers - those who gave so much of themselves to make this day possible.
Graduates, your education on the sacred ground of this university has introduced you to high ideals and aspirations. Your face-to- face contact with Marquette's incomparable faculty has given you a measuring rod by which to distinguish knowledge from a quick fix or an easy answer. The care our faculty and this entire community showed for your development has helped transform you, eliciting unique dreams and great desires that will always and forever direct your efforts to the greater glory of God and the well-being of the world.
As you chart the courses you will take from here, the lives of your two new classmates - today's honorary degree recipients - offer abundant lessons. Look always to their example.
So, Class of 2013, my thoughts turn now to the ties that you have formed here. The ties that bind you to each other - keep them strong. And keep strong the ties that bind you to Marquette. You are Marquette's now and Marquette will be yours, forever.
Don't waste the love you have found here. Dance at each other's weddings. Stand as Godparents to each other's children. Stand hand in hand as you face life's inevitable, and often exhilarating, mysteries. Share life's miracles with one another.
It has been a wonder to see your boundless promise as individuals interact with the transformative traditions of Marquette.
It has been a great pleasure teaching some of you - seeing you reach beyond your preconceptions, wrestling with life's questions.
I have been moved by your embrace of this university and of each other. Of course, as a resident of the corner of Wells and Sixteenth streets, I've had my share of opportunities - often in the early morning hours - to witness your exuberant expressions of camaraderie.
And later in the day, over some incredible dinners, I have felt more pride and admiration than I previously thought possible hearing you discuss how you just didn't feel complete in your lives unless you were handling every back- breaking aspect of trips to help people recover from disasters and build up neighborhoods. How deeply moving.
As a wise Rabbi reminds us, "Much I have learned from my teachers. But most I have learned from my students."
Great work, your great work, is never easy, but as St. Ignatius protests, "Nothing is hard to one whose will is set on it, especially if it be a thing done out of love."
You have learned to do so much out of love these last few years. And love and hope - the true contents of your hearts - will be your best guides in the days and years ahead. The first Jesuit that I ever met wrote, "Love does not wait for a blueprint complete in every detail. But a real future means hoping, for hoping impels us to imagine possibilities, the way parents imagine possibilities for their children. They cannot predict in detail the future for which they work. Even so, they must commit themselves in hope. Love must work its way."
As love works its way through your lives, and helps you realize possibilities you can only now barely imagine, may it bring you back often to Marquette University. That will always be your home.
Go now and set the world on fire.
God bless you, God bless Catholic and Jesuit higher education and God bless Marquette.
Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J., is interim president
Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J., is the interim president of Marquette University. From 1996 to 2011 he served as the 22nd president of Marquette University. Under his leadership, Marquette has improved academic quality, increased and stabilized enrollment, and enhanced partnerships with the City of Milwaukee and community groups and in 2005 completed the most successful comprehensive campaign in the history of the university with a total of $357 million. Read more...