By Erin Hallissy and Elizabeth Smith
Nearly 1,000 students received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Saint Mary’s College over Memorial Day weekend in commencement ceremonies filled with hope for the future and fond memories of the past.
In his salutation at the undergraduate commencement on May 23 in Saint Mary’s Stadium, Brother President Ronald Gallagher lauded the 631 members of the Class of 2009.
“You have brought national recognition to Saint Mary’s in service, artistic, literary, scientific and athletic accomplishment. You have garnered a world-wide reputation for stuffing phone booths, continuing a proud Gael tradition,” Brother Ronald said. “You are leaving a legacy of generosity, enthusiasm and commitment to the undergraduates who follow you.”
In his commencement address, James M. Guyette ’67, president and CEO of Rolls-Royce North America, outlined economic, environmental and other crises occurring today. However, he encouraged the graduates, “don’t give up. The sky is not falling — there’s hope, lots of hope.”
Guyette said the key to success was “a compass, a network, a clock and the right attitude.”
“Attitude is our approach to circumstances and to people,” he said. “You will find the very best organizations will hire for attitude and train for skills.”
On Sunday, about 240 people graduated from master’s and doctoral programs in the Kalmanovitz School of Education and five graduate programs in the School of Liberal Arts: LEAP (Liberal Education for Arts Professions), Kinesiology, Graduate Liberal Studies, Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing and Master of Arts in Leadership.
Commencement speaker Steve Westly, former California controller and CEO of the Westly Group, said that he loved graduations because “things like hope and optimism don’t seem like abstract concepts.”
Westly acknowledged the current economic problems occurring globally, but said “change is coming quickly.”
“That means there are extraordinary opportunities for new leaders, and that’s where you come in,” he said. “Use your imagination; use your courage. Ask not who you will follow, but who will follow you.”