In joyful ceremonies on May 24 and 25, Saint Mary's College saluted more than 600 undergraduates and 200 graduate students with speeches, cheers and heartfelt expressions of pride and accomplishment.
"We have reason to be proud of you graduates," Brother President Ronald Gallagher said in his invocation at the 145th Undergraduate Commencement at Saint Mary's Stadium on a chilly Saturday morning. "You are prepared to represent Saint Mary's to the world, and indeed, the world needs you."
'91, an NBC-11 news anchor, recalled in her commencement address words of encouragement from SMC communication professors Kusum Singh and Ed Tywoniak that have stayed with her throughout her journalism career, which started at the College's radio station.
Garcia-Cannon called on this year's graduates to apply the lessons of their Lasallian education to the professional and personal challenges they encounter after Saint Mary's.
"You are a Gael you have it in you to do whatever you want in life," she said. "I see a sea of success stories in the class of 2008."
Valedictorian Emily Robbins, one of more than a score of students to receive awards at commencement, spoke about how the College has helped her and her classmates face that world with confidence.
"We've learned more at Saint Mary's than we could ever have expected," Robbins said. "We are taking a new role in our society as of today. We are the leaders."
On Sunday in McKeon Pavilion, Margaret Norris, assistant director of student services for the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, told those graduating from graduate programs and adult bachelor degree programs that they had "fought the good fight of academia."
"The world is your stage," she said. "I would like to challenge you to consider which role you will play or continue to play. Your experience at Saint Mary's has prepared you for leadership. Truly, what the world needs now are leaders."
The graduate commencement included students from a wide range of education and counseling programs receiving master's degrees in liberal arts, kinesiology, leadership and creative writing and bachelor's degrees in law studies, management and Liberal Education for Arts Professionals.
-- John Grennan and Erin Hallissy,
Office of College Communications
Photo by Kat Wade