2007 Commencement Speech by Manuel A. Santiago Jr.

Today we celebrate a great accomplishment, yet it is only the beginning of a more challenging journey.

If we revealed our full paths taken to be here, in all likelihood, we would find that our difficulties have similarities yet remain unique for each of us. We are all unique and, in my mind, special in our own way. Not only to our immediate loved ones but to each and every soul that resides on our orbiting spaceship – mother Earth.

As I pondered what the Sr. LeRoy Finn Award meant, I researched the descriptions of each word inscribed on the Wisdom Bowl. The qualities from these words are what we all must have within us in order to change the world that is before us.

CATALYST – One that precipitates a process or event. Of course, Notre Dame College endeavors to “Change the world….”

DILIGENT – persevering, painstaking effort. Diligent is a derivative of the word diligence which means – persistent application to one’s occupation or studies; attentive care.

I believe this to be a part of my character, along with each of the graduates who are here today.

RESILIENT – The ability to recover quickly; lightness of spirit; cheerfulness. This is me, and I see it in all of you everyday at Notre Dame.

SCHOLARLY – Of, pertaining to characteristic of scholars or scholarship. A Scholar is a learned or erudite person; a specialist in a given branch of the humanities. This is a part of me and I know it is a part of you.

SPIRITUAL – Of, relating to, consisting of or having the nature of spirit; not tangible or material: Of, concerned with, or affecting the soul; of, from.

This is me, as well as, the tradition of The Sisters of Notre Dame where “God is good.”

The qualities from these words are what we all must have within us in order to change the world that is before us.

This world is due for a change. A change that will require all the qualities that the Sr. LeRoy Finn Award represents.

That is the challenge that is before each of us today. The days of climbing that ladder of success without giving a thought to whom you step on must come to an end. The ideals of capitalism – “greed is good” and get all that you can in any way you can - must be obliterated. Humanity is what must become important to each of us. Is this revolutionary? To our economic understanding – yes. To the morals and values that we all want from one another and especially from our country – yes it is.

I stand here before you begging you to save the world by becoming more… human. To care more for our fellow human beings and to do away with the need for want, greed, and material items. By becoming the Catalyst, we can do away with poverty and hunger throughout this world. We can begin to accept all as they are and do away with judgments and prejudices. Yes, I know what you are thinking. Have I gone mad! Am I crazy! The answer is yes. WILL – you join me within this train of thought and change? Are you up to this challenge? We all exemplify the qualities envisioned by Sr. LeRoy Finn – so yes we are up to the challenge.

WILL – you choose to go where no one has gone before? That… I can not answer because it is your choice.

For each of us to have a future world filled with the happiness and joy not only for our loved ones, neighbors – by neighbors I do not only mean those from next door or down the street but from across the oceans and maybe the galaxies. We must accept the challenges to improve humanity. Will it be difficult? Of course it will. Will it be done? With the qualities of being: a Catalyst – Diligent – Resilient – Scholarly – Spiritual. Then - without any doubt – yes, we will.

E.g., 06/23/19
E.g., 06/23/19