“Follow your passion”

“Following your passion will give you the power to find a way to make a living doing what you love,” Commencement speaker Anne Lynam Goddard ‘77 told the more than 400 undergraduates who received their degrees on May 16, the College’s 92nd graduation exercises. Goddard, president and CEO of Christian Children’s Fund, delivered the Commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Goddard has led the Christian Children’s Fund since 2006. The international child development organization assists more than 15.5 million children and families in 33 countries. A former Peace Corps volunteer, Goddard began her career as a social worker, focusing on child neglect and abuse cases. Today, she is a veteran humanitarian aid worker, who has continued to advocate for and protect children and families around the world.

Goddard, whose son was wounded, but survived, during the 2008 Virginia Tech shootings, also shared her philosophy of luck, comparing it to an early-version Super Mario Brothers video game in which little platforms moved up and down. “If you pay attention, think, seize the opportunities at the right moment, have courage and make that leap, you’ll be ‘lucky,’” Goddard said. “You’ll find that job that pays you and feeds your passion.”

President Francesco Cesareo welcomed the graduates, and their families and friends, saying, “This is a day of celebration and also one of possibility.” He urged the graduates to be “people of conviction and belief.”

The Very Reverend Marcel Poirier, A.A., provincial superior of the Augustinians of the Assumption, offered the invocation. The Honorable Konstantina Lukes, mayor of Worcester, brought greetings to the graduates.

Valedictorian Lindsay Houle of Worcester told her classmates, “We have an unbelievable opportunity to shape ourselves as the generation that changed how everything works...we are the ones to whom everyone is looking for an answer.”

Assumption awarded 600 degrees and certificates during its 2009 Commencement Exercises: Bachelor of Arts (411); Master of Arts (97); Master of Business Administration (51); Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (15); Associate’s Degree (9); Bachelor of Business Administration (13); and Bachelor of Science (Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences, Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies) (19).

Other honorary degree recipients included Edmund D. Pellegrino, M.D., Ph.D., who was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree. Dr. Pellegrino is the John Carroll Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center. A pioneer in the field of Catholic medical ethics, Dr. Pellegrino was director of the Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown’s Medical Center. The founding editor of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, he is renowned for his discussions of Christian virtue and medical ethics in the treatment of patients, and his focus on humanism and the physician, as well as the philosophical basis of medical treatment.

Rev. James V. Schall, S.J., received an honorary Doctor of Human Letters degree during the commencement ceremony. Fr. Schall is a professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University. A legendary teacher and highly prolific author, his defense of classical liberal learning and his engagement with the enduring questions about “what is” have influenced generations of students and readers. The Rev. James V. Schall, S.J., Award for Teaching and Humane Letters was established at Georgetown in 2008 in recognition of “Fr. Schall’s commitment to liberal education, the great books, and the philosophical and religious tradition of the West and, above all, the Catholic faith.”

Valedictorian Lindsay Houle, the daughter of Russell and Maryann Houle of Worcester, majored in accounting. She will join the accounting firm Deloitte and Touche as a staff accountant. This summer, she will enroll in a master’s degree program in business administration (MBA) at Bentley University.

Salutatorian Ukemeabasi Esiet introduced Commencement speaker Anne Lynam Goddard. Esiet, son of Uwem and Nike Esiet of Lagos, Nigeria, majored in management. This summer he will work with Second Nature, Inc., a Boston-based nonprofit that promotes sustainability in higher education.

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