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Class of 2014 students move their tassels over to the left side as they celebrate their graduation from Mount St. Mary's College.

Class of 2014 makes history at MSMC's Commencement ceremony

More than 750 students made up the largest graduating class in Mount St. Mary’s College history this year. On Monday, May 12, many of those students walked the stage at Los Angeles’ historic Shrine Auditorium to receive their diplomas.

Their first act as graduates was to create a new tradition that will be followed by Athenians in the years to come. Each student transferred their cap tassels from the right to the left, in unison, signifying the completion of their time as students and the beginning of their relationship with the College as alums.

“Remember that you wear it on the left side, over your heart, to remind you of your alma mater,” said President McElaney-Johnson.

The Class of 2014 included students from the Mount’s associate of arts, baccalaureate and graduate programs. During her welcoming remarks, President McElaney-Johnson issued a challenge to graduates at all levels of the College.

“Take our mission with you and commit yourselves to compassion, justice and respect for yourself and others,” she said. “Take time to reflect. Take time to pray. Embrace beauty in all its forms. Treat your surroundings, as well as your neighbor, with the utmost care and aspire always to remarkable service.”

‘Keep your heart open’
This year’s commencement address was delivered by Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, an author, foreign policy expert and an associate professor of international relations at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Cusimano Love implored the Class of 2014 to strive for peace, and to be receptive to a world of opportunities that they might not have imagined when they entered college as first-year students. “We are called to be thinkers and doers of impossible thoughts,” she said. “We live in a world of miracles, just waiting for us to notice and participate in them.”

As a core member of the U.S. State Department’s working group on Religion and Foreign Policy, Love makes recommendations to the Secretary of State and the Federal Advisory Commission on how the U.S. government can better engage with civil society and religious actors in foreign policy.

A global speaker and noted author, Love has spoken on religious peace-building at the Vatican and at the United Nations. Her most recent books include “Beyond Sovereignty: Issues for a Global Agenda” and “Morality Matters: Ethics and the War on Terrorism.”

“Keep your heart open. You never know how God will invite you to serve, to use these gifts of your education,” Dr. Cusimano Love said at Commencement. “I have found two kinds of prayer God always answers: a desire to love and a desire to serve.”

Commencement Notes

  • Mount St. Mary’s annually awards the Carondelet Medal at its Commencement exercises, the highest honor awarded by the College. This year’s recipient was Robert A. Smith III, the president of the Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation and past president of the Catholic Education Foundation.
  • Shrine Auditorium is now the home for Mount St. Mary’s annual Commencement ceremonies. The auditorium, located three blocks from the College’s downtown Doheny Campus, was built in 1906 as a civic center and home base for the Al Malaikah Shriners. When it was rebuilt and expanded in 1926, it quickly became the hub of entertainment in Los Angeles.
  • This year’s Commencement exercises included live music featuring a brass quintet and the College’s own Mount Singers, who opened the ceremony with a rendition of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”
  • Four graduates from the Class of 2014 spoke at Commencement: Matthew T. Gaggioli, associate of arts program greeter; Christina L. Krasomil, baccalaureate program greeter; Blake Matthew Wells, graduate program greeter; and Carli Perez, baccalaureate class tribute.
  • Students, family members, faculty and staff posted Commencement updates and pictures in real time on Twitter and Instagram. To take a look, search the hashtag #MSMCGrad. A photo album is also posted on the College’s Facebook page at
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