Christendom College celebrated its forty-second commencement on May 15, awarding 121 undergraduate degrees to the Class of 2021. Legendary college football coach Lou Holtz was also honored during the ceremony, with the college awarding him the Pro Deo et Patria Award for Distinguished Service to God and Country before he delivered this year’s commencement address.
Holtz began his commencement address by encouraging the members of the Class of 2021 to count their blessings after being able to spend four years at a school like Christendom.
“I want to tell you the most important thing: count your blessings,” said Holtz. “You were able to go to a great Catholic college, where you were able to express your faith and go to Mass every day. You were so fortunate here — don’t take that for granted.”
In his address, Holtz emphasized the need to always pursue excellence and never settle for simply remaining comfortable. Instead, Holtz called graduates to always be seeking to improve their lives — spiritually, personally, and professionally.
“Life is nothing more than making good choices,” said Holtz. “How can you make sure you make good choices? You only have to follow three simple rules your whole life: do what’s right, do everything to the best of your ability, and show people you care. God did not put us on this earth to be average.”
“Speak softly, smile a lot, and never lower your standards,” concluded Holtz.
On Friday, Bishop Michael Burbidge celebrated the Baccalaureate Mass for graduates and their families. In remarks made before the Mass, Bishop Burbidge joined the graduates in thanking God for the blessings given to them during their time at Christendom.
“Dear graduates, I am joining you in thanking God for the many blessings He has showered upon you during your time here at the college. For giving you the strength and the perseverance when you needed it to respond to the high academic standards and academic integrity of this institution,” said Bishop Burbidge. “And yet, you know you did not do so alone. You did it by the grace of God and through the help of so many people. And so with you, dear graduates, I join you at this Mass in thanking your dear parents, everyone in the administration here at Christendom College for the many ways they inspired you, helped you, and supported you. Together at this Mass, we pray for you.”
Closing the ceremonies on Saturday, College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell delivered his charge to the graduates, encouraging them to keep Christ’s life, His mission, and His teachings a priority as they go forward into the world.
“In your life, there will be many times when there will be rocks, there will be stones, and even boulders put in your way, which may discourage you at times,” said O’Donnell. “But remember, our Lord at His tomb removed the large stone which was trying to keep Him sealed in. The large stone did not stop Him: it will not stop you either.”
“My charge to you: do not be dismayed by the whirlpool of that worldly spirit, by the evil, by the selfishness, or by the fear. Your education has enabled you to roll away that stone and overcome every stone that is put in your path. Like St. Peter, run to Him. Stay with Him. Remain with His Holy Catholic Church. If you do that, no rock, no stone will be able to overcome your faith, your joy, and the amazement of knowing Him who loves us so much. There is more love in the heart of Jesus and in the Immaculate Heart of Mary then there is evil in the world. Please know how much we love you here at the college and that we will miss you. Our thoughts and prayers go with you as you continue on with your journey.”
The one-hundred and twenty-one members of the Class of 2021 are: Evan Aiello, Jacob Altmanshofer, Mary-Catherine Anderson, Gabriel Arango, William Arnold, Thomas Bayley, Cecilia Belleville, Sean Bennett, Martha Blank, Andrew Book, Samuel Bratt, Julia Brezinsky, John Briggs, Mary Bright, Daniel Buehler, Stephen Buonocore, Therese Butek, Theresa Castellan, Mark Cavazos, Peter Cermak, Annabella Christensen, Joseph Ciskanik, Mary Connolly, Bernadette Coyne, Louis Culloton, Maria Cunningham, Rosa Cunningham, Monica Dewey, Isabella Di Falco, Bridget Duffy, Max Dugan, Vincent Duhig, Elizabeth Eller, Meredith Ethridge, Ryan Farrell, Christiana Fedoryka, George Flagg, Katherine Flynn, Thomas Foos, Nina Francis, Rose Francis, Chiara Fusco, Cecilia Garvey, Angela Goddard, Emily Golden, Emily Guza, Joseph Halecky, Melanie Heinlein, Thomas Hess Jr, Mary-Claire Hibl, Giulianna Hudson, Bernadette Hund, Eileen Hund, Marcus Hynfield, John Jakubisin, Agnese Janaro, Joan Johnson, Mary Kelly, Eleanor Kolesar, Kristin Kozin, Jose Lam, Caroline Lancaster, Katherine Lindner, Carmen Litterio, Kadi Martin, Kevin McDermott, Dominic McFadden, Ian McLaughlin, Theresa McLaughlin, Matthew McShurley, Michael Mersch, Meagan Montanari, Emily Narel, Nelson Nunes, Elyse Nurenberg, Declan O’Donnell, James O’Reilly, Joseph O’Reilly, Marie-Therese O’Reilly, Anthony Palumbo, Stephen Pascoe, Bruce Patryn, Julia Patterson, Gail Kathleen Peterson, Theresa Piroch, Ambrose Rucker, Jillian Rugg, Catherine Salgado, Peter Santorum, Bridget Schneider, Joseph Schwartz, William Sigler III, Mary-Grace Siwko, Christina Smith, Elizabeth Smith, Sarah Snyman, Dario Spinelli, Samantha Stahl, Grace Stanton, Anthony Suess, Barbara Syski, Abigail Thomas, Aedan Tsakanikas, Joachim Tsakanikas, Charlotte Twetten, Isabella Vicenzino, Rose Vidosh, Isabella Walsh, Joshua Weaver, Harold Weichert, Maximilian Weidenkopf, Anthony Whittaker, John Whittaker, Jenna Williams, Mary Williams, Caleb Wilson, Phoebe Wing, Veronica Wingerter, Lianna Youngman, LiYun Zhu, and Ally Zink.
Photos from Commencement 2021 will be available shortly.