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Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD
Presidential Address
Creighton University Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony
May 14, 2022 | CHI Health Center Omaha

Along with Creighton University’s trustees, Jesuits, faculty, and staff, I am so delighted to welcome the families, friends, and graduates of the class of 2022 to this Commencement.

I see in this arena so many cheerful faces, which is as it should be on a remarkable day like today. Before me is a group of individuals who overcame challenges unlike any we have seen in generations. You have every reason to be beaming, and the people supporting you here today and elsewhere should have every reason to be proud.
 
The outstanding graduates before us, and across the colleges and schools of Creighton University, come from all around the United States and from so many points global, representing almost every state in the nation and more than 20 countries.

Of course, each graduation is so special to me, as are each one of our graduates. This year is particularly personal for me as my niece is graduating from the Heider College of Business. Marguerite, I know I speak for the entire Hendrickson family when I say that we are so proud of you.

And my goodness, I would be remiss if I did not recognize our first graduating cohort of Global Scholars.

Graduates, formed in and through our ideals of faith and justice, during your time on this campus you have been reflective and discerning, and – in your classrooms, in the laboratories, at internships, and perhaps throughout the nation and around the world as the pandemic allowed – you have been of service.

Our Catholic intellectual tradition and Jesuit pedagogy are steeped in history, values, and commitments, and in turn you have been analytical, empathetic, ethical, and engaged.  
 
And let there be no mistake, you have also been determined. You have overcome uncertainty and adversity that none before you have experienced, and by God’s grace, none shall after you.

The pandemic likely challenged your academic journey, your spirit and resolve, and yet you refused to let it overwhelm you. Really, you did not just overcome, but you arose to the occasion, and you are here today because of that singular determination.
 
Graduates, that is character, in every sense of the word. Paired with that Ignatian belief in service, it is the kind of character that, released into a world that blisters and bleeds all too often, gives me hope for something better – for healing, and for positive change.
 
Class of 2022, today is a hallmark of accomplishment in each of your lives, and it testifies to aptitude, perseverance, and practice.  Better yet, it has flashed out as compassion, care, and concern – bright lights fueled by those surrounding you these recent years, and more so, shining out of your own lives.  So, take the time to celebrate what is hard won and so truly honorable in its own right.
 
But tomorrow, as you move into new chapters of your lives, as you step tomorrow toward a new horizon, let it be said, and let it be seen, that you are not just degree holders and college graduates, you are Creighton graduates. I give you license to declare it assertively.  
 
You leave Creighton University with the experience of Jesuit higher learning. From our architecture, through your coursework, myriad projects, retreats, and with a great community, it is a difference in substance and of soul.  Your Creighton experience is a distinction that signals a remarkable transformation in each of your lives.
 
On the stage of life – from coast to coast and around the world – your Creighton education does not just fashion you to be of service, justice, expertise, and equity, it demands it.  The world needs how you are able to think, feel, pray, and act.

Class of 2022, congratulations, certainly, for what you are able to now do. But more significantly, blessings on who you have become during these good and meaningful years of your lives, and blessings on all the ways in which you will keep unfolding.
 
And please know this. Creighton will never not be your home. Come back often. Thank you, and congratulations.