The Class of 2018 is ready for the world.
This May, Mount Saint Mary's celebrated the graduation of more than 1,000 students from the University's traditional baccalaureate program, Graduate Division, Weekend/Evening College and associate degree program.
Watch archived live streams of both 2018 MSMU Commencement ceremonies, as well as a video featuring reflections from members of the Class of 2018, at msmu.edu/commencement.
On May 4, the Mount community gathered for Graduate Commencement at the Los Angeles Convention Center to welcome more than 250 new members into the Mount Alums community. These students represent 10 graduate programs at the University, which are based primarily on the Mount's Doheny Campus in downtown Los Angeles.
The day's Commencement address was delivered by Provost Robert Perrins, PhD, who closed his remarks by challenging graduates not to shy away from tackling the big issues that currently face our communities -- from including divisions based on racial, gender and wealth disparities.
"Simply put, the world needs you to be engaged in issues that may at first appear to be too distant or too daunting," Perrins said. "While wars and conflicts will no doubt continue to plague the world, the battles I am asking you to take up are for peoples’ hearts and minds."
Jessica Burnett '18, from the MFA in Creative Writing program, served as the student tribute speaker at Graduate Commencement. She, too, challenged her fellow graduates.
"I encourage you, Sister, to continue to be resilient and relentless in digging trenches to your dreams. Take no detours. Be fearless," Burnett said. "I encourage you, Brother, to continue practicing your craft. Exemplifying your unique craftsmanship that sets you apart from the dreamers. We can do great things when we believe we can."
To see a photo album from Graduate Commencement 2018, visit Mount Saint Mary's Graduate Division Facebook page.
May 17, 2018, began with a Graduation Mass that included a procession from the Mount's Doheny Campus to St. Vincent de Paul. Later that afternoon, the University community celebrated Undergraduate Commencement at L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium, in honor of the more than 750 students receiving bachelor's and associate's degrees.
The Undergraduate Commencement speaker was Va Lecia Adams Kellum, PhD, CEO and president of the St. Joseph Center. Under Adams Kellum’s leadership, St. Joseph Center has been a trailblazer in deploying integrated, multidisciplinary teams to help the most vulnerable homeless individuals obtain and maintain stable housing. And like Mount Saint Mary's, St. Joseph Center was also founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (CSJ).
"This means we have been exposed to the same philosophy, which emphasizes a commitment to serve the dear neighbor and to be a light in the world," Adams Kellum said. "By being part of the CSJ circle we’ve learned a set of beliefs, values and principles such of caring for those in need, advocating for people who are struggling, serving the homeless and restoring hope in people who are hopeless. These principals are meant to guide our steps and inform the way we view the world."
She closed by reminding the Class of 2018 to use their skills and talents to make a difference.
"You have something powerful to share with the world that is related to your purpose. Perhaps it’s your creativity, your voice, your dedication to social justice and helping others, your strengths in math and science, or your ability to speak the truth...
"Mount Saint Mary’s University Class of 2018, you are called to walk in excellence in the tradition of the CSJs and to stand up for people who cannot stand up for themselves. As you step into the future, Don’t just move forward. Press forward with a fierceness and determination to fight for what’s right."
Watch Adams Kellum's address here.
Ivette Jackson '18, who now has a BA in business administration and English, served as the Weekend/Evening College program tribute speaker. She shared a quote from Henry Ford to exemplify the spirit of the University's adult students:
"'Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young,'" she relayed. "These years have been life-changing and as Weekend/Evening College students, we are proof that it's never too late to learn something new."
Julia Arias '18, who earned her BA in psychology, delivered the traditional undergraduate tribute to her Class of 2018 classmates. She noted the breadth of discovery and spirit of resilience that hallmarks a Mount education.
"Being a college student is about academics, but it's also about finding out who you are and stepping out of your comfort zone," Arias said. "It’s about establishing your worldview, having your perception of life expand due to new and diverse encounters with different cultures on campus who bring you out of your little bubble...
"To conclude, a quote from one of my favorite writers, Rupi Kaur. She states: 'If you were born with the weakness to fall you were born with the strength to rise.'"
During Commencement, Mount Saint Mary's also awarded the Carondelet Medal - the greatest honor extended by the University - to two longtime stalwarts of the Mount community:
- Father George O'Brien, who came to Mount Saint Mary's in 1976 and serves as associate professor of English and as University chaplain; and
- Bernadette Gonzaque Robert '77, an alumna whose 35-year career at the Mount includes her current role as associate vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion.
To see a photo album from Undergraduate Commencement 2018, visit Mount Saint Mary's University's Facebook page.