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Four members of MSMU's Class of '07 take a moment to smile for the camera before commencement ceremonies began at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, Calif.

MSMU Celebrates More Than 600 Graduates

May 16, 2007 -- Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU) celebrated more than 600 graduates at its May 14 commencement at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, Calif. The ceremony honored graduates of the College’s associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, and certificate programs.

Commencement speaker Father Greg Boyle, SJ, founder and executive director of Jobs For A Future/Homeboy Industries, shared his experiences working with at-risk youth and urged graduates to value every life—to help each soul feel its worth. Boyle’s organization includes an economic development program and employment referral services in Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights community.

“Imagine a circle of compassion and imagine nobody standing outside that circle, and to that end your task as you go forth from this place is to stand with those on the margins and to stand with those whose dignity has been denied,” said Boyle, who was awarded an honorary degree, doctor of humane letters. “Insist that nobody stands outside the circle of compassion.” His speech was filmed by C-SPAN and will air on the Saturday night cable program “American Perspectives” in May.

Boyle said developing a sense of kinship with everyone will help inspire peace in the world. “There is an idea that there just might be lives out there that matter less than other lives, and so you choose to stand against that idea. Good for you,” he said.

“Father Boyle is an inspiring and poetic communicator, and is doing phenomenal work in one of the most needy neighborhoods in our community,” said Jacqueline Powers Doud, MSMU president. “He is truly a model for our students. People often underestimate or undervalue the power of doing good, but the power of service is evident in the work Father Boyle has done. We want our students to know that one person can make a difference even when problems seem so big.”

Begun in 1988 for at-risk and gang-involved youth, Jobs For A Future is now a nationally-recognized center that assists 1,000 people a month in re-directing their lives through employment opportunities, counseling, and many other services, including free tattoo removal. In 1992, as a response to the civil unrest in Los Angeles, Boyle formed Homeboy Industries, which creates businesses that provide training, work experience, and above all, the opportunity for rival gang members to work side by side.

Another highlight of the commencement ceremonies was the presentation of the Carondelet Medals, the College’s highest honor. This year’s recipients were David McIntyre, a distinguished trustee and longtime friend of the College who passed away in January, and the Rev. Matthew S. Delaney, a mathematician and professor emeritus at MSMU.

Delivering the College’s baccalaureate class tribute was Christina Sundermeier ’07, who earned her bachelor of arts in psychology with an emphasis in counseling and a minor in religious studies. Sundermeier plans to pursue a master’s degree in theological studies.

Other program greetings came from the following graduates: Claire Marie Juan, associate’s degree in pre-health; Esperansa Martinez, associate’s degree in nursing; Heidi White, bachelor’s degree in English; Monique Grier, bachelor’s degree in psychology; Monique Keala Grier, bachelor’s degree in psychology; and Ruth Sanborn, master’s degree in religious studies.

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