Greetings to the Class of 2016
Sr. Patricia O’Brien, SND
Chair, Trinity Board of Trustees
Congratulations to all members of the Trinity Red Class of 2016! I am pleased to bring greetings on this rainy Commencement day from the Trinity Board of Trustees.
Class of 2016, your Commencement falls on the eve of Trinity Sunday –how appropriate! – and today, you celebrate many great achievements that deserve our praise and celebration. You are members of Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Sigma Lambda, and many other honor societies. Many of you have earned your degrees with honors, a fact that is all the more remarkable because many of you have also worked and managed families while attending Trinity. Those of you earning baccalaureate degrees have ambitions after college that include beginning or enhancing your careers as well as pursuing graduate education. Those of you earning graduate degrees are now even better equipped to be successful and to make a difference where you work. You join a long and distinguished line of Trinity alumnae and alumni who have been lifelong learners.
You follow in the footsteps of thousands of Trinity graduates, some quite famous, but most who have lived out their commitment to Trinity’s mission in quiet but effective ways. Like you, they have become teachers, professors, researchers, health care professionals, policy specialists, writers, artists, lawyers, and practitioners in a diverse range of professions.
Across the generations, they have shared a profound commitment to live lives of service, to be advocates for improving their communities, and to work for social justice throughout the world.
The achievements of the Class of 2016 pave the way for succeeding generations of Trinity students and graduates, even as our alumnae and alumni across the generations made your success possible today. The Board and Sisters of Notre Dame are very proud of your achievements and the ways in which you live Trinity’s values each day.
Your last year at Trinity has been an eventful one, hasn’t it? It started in September with a visit, across the street, from Pope Francis, and ends this month with the completion of the stunning new Payden Academic Center. I know that some of you are feeling a bit disappointed that the new Center is opening just as you are leaving, but remember – you can always come back to earn your Master’s degree or to work here at Trinity!
You may also be aware that your last year at Trinity marks a special anniversary for the Sisters of Notre Dame – this year, we celebrate the bicentenary of our founder, Saint Julie Billiart. When the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur established Trinity College almost 120 years ago, they acted in the spirit of Saint Julie, whose sisters led a global revolution in the education of girls and women and who, today, extend that vision and mission to welcome all who desire a high-quality, values-based education. Today, you, Trinity Washington University’s Class of 2016, are the latest manifestation of the wisdom and courage of Saint Julie and the Sisters of Notre Dame who founded Trinity and who have sustained it through the decades.
How proud Saint Julie would be of each of you! She had a profound belief in the power of education to transform the lives of individuals and society, and she would see the evidence of that power in your achievements to date and in your potential for the future. Saint Julie is often pictured with a student, and she is almost always pictured smiling – in fact, she is referred to as the Smiling Saint. I see her today standing with you, her smile widening as she shares with you the joy of this day and as she reflects on all the good you will do … in your families, in your neighborhoods, and in society at large.
I congratulate you on behalf of Trinity’s founders, the Sisters of Notre Dame, and the Board of Trustees. God bless you all.