Watch the full 2019 Commencement video

2019 Commencement speakers

David Brooks, Commencement SpeakerDavid Brooks, the New York Times best-selling author and political commentator, served as Marquette University’s Commencement speaker on Sunday, May 19. With wit and candor, Brooks called on graduates to embrace commitment, which he defined as a promise made out of love. He told them that truly committing to a partner, a vocation, a community and a philosophy or faith would change who they were and help them find meaning in life. “I’ve used this talk to ask you to reject the individualism of our culture and embrace a life built around commitment and attachment. Make big promises. Execute them in small ways. You’ll be more joyous,” he said. As part of the university’s Commencement ceremony, Brooks received an honorary doctor of letters degree. Watch the speech.

Jacob Zelinski, Marquette University’s first recipient of the James Foley Scholarship, told the audience that his story at Marquette had been “bookended by heartbreak.” In the beginning, he came to the university on a scholarship named for the 1996 Marquette graduate and journalist who was executed in 2014 in Syria by Islamic state militants. Near the end of Zelinski’s time at Marquette, his older brother Joey, who graduated from Marquette in 2017, died suddenly in a car accident. Zelinski’s inspirational speech conveyed the grace he found in grief and encouraged his fellow graduates to see the “god of tiny beautiful things” all around them. Watch the speech.

Sister Ann M. Durst, SHCJ, founder of Casa Cornelia Law Center in San Diego, received an honorary doctor of law degree during the ceremony. Throughout her 60 years as a Sister of the Holy Child Jesus, Sister Ann has made significant and enduring contributions in the fields of education and law. Early in her vocation, Sister Ann taught and administered at several schools founded by the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, including School of the Holy Child in Rye, N.Y., and Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child in Summit, N.J. From 1971-1978, Sister Ann served as president of Rosemont College in Rosemont, Pa., which was also founded by the Society in 1921. Learn more.