Commencement and the End of the Academic Year

A message to the Saint Mary's Community

by Brother Thomas Jones, FSC, Interim President | May 20, 2024

The upcoming Saint Mary’s College Commencement weekend is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and experiences of our SMC community during this academic year. It is time when we stand together with our graduates as they gather proudly with their families and friends to be honored for their achievements and encouraged to move confidently into the next phase of their lives. 

Each graduate will bring memories of their time at Saint Mary’s to their Commencement. They will recall the friends they’ve made and the times when they discovered something new about themselves. They will remember reaching beyond their limitations to learn more about the world around them than they ever imagined.  

Please join me in congratulating and honoring these remarkable undergraduate and graduate students who will soon take their place among the many cherished alumni who always hold a special place in our hearts.

Commencement 2024

Special Significance for the Class of 2024

This year’s Commencement ceremonies have special significance for many of our undergraduates who completed their secondary education and entered college four years ago as the global pandemic was raging. Though many other colleges and universities across the country have altered or even canceled their Commencement ceremonies in response to student unrest, we are committed to providing our graduates with the recognition and honor they deserve.

The opportunity to participate in the Commencement procession with cheers from families, relatives, and friends, to stand side-by-side with classmates, to high-five each other, to take that long-awaited walk across the graduation stage, and to receive a handshake or a hug from a peer or a mentor will undoubtedly be felt and remembered long after the day’s events are over.

Today’s Climate: Potential Demonstrations Amid Celebration

Recognizing the intense emotions and multitude of differing viewpoints that surround the current conflict in the Middle East and crises in other parts of the world, and acknowledging the right of students to free expression, I call upon the entire Saint Mary’s College community to stand with our graduates as they bring their families and friends to the campus for their Commencement. We therefore respectfully ask both undergraduate and graduate students or groups wishing to peacefully demonstrate at Commencement to congregate in a designated Free Speech space across from UCU Pavilion, next to Br. Alfred Brousseau Hall.

It is my hope that the celebration we anticipate with our graduates and their families will stand as a beacon of light in a world that so hungers for peace and reconciliation. I’m reminded of themes from the Christian scriptures and world literature of choosing light over darkness, peace over war, and love over hate.

Graduates, despite today’s global turmoil, my hope for you is that you leave Saint Mary’s knowing that you can promote justice, practice peace, and impart grace into the world. Armed with the blessings of your professors, mentors, and friends, may you live full lives in communities with others you will meet along the way.  

A Word of Thanks

Our Offices of Meetings, Events & Conference Services, Campus Safety, and the Commencement Planning Committee have worked tirelessly to provide the best experience possible for our graduates and their families. Please join me in acknowledging and thanking them for their generosity and service. 

As the spring semester and academic year come to a close and summer approaches, I also want to thank our entire campus community for the support and encouragement I have received as Interim President. I appreciate the many examples of generosity and kindness you have displayed toward me and each other this academic year.  

I wish you a pleasant summer and a future filled with light and grace. 

Well done, Gael graduates! 


Brother Thomas Jones, FSC

Interim President

For information and details about SMC’s Commencement ceremonies—including the full schedule, accessible seating and accommodations, and information about Grad Grounds—please visit our Commencement website or email the Commencement committee.