Since 1859, Valparaiso University has given its eager students the skills, experience, and resources they need to succeed in a professional capacity after graduation. This year, Valparaiso University celebrated its 575 undergraduate and 183 graduate students on May 13.
The College of Arts and Sciences along with the College of Business held their commencement at 9 a.m. This was followed at 2 p.m. by a commencement for the College of Engineering and College of Nursing and Health Professions.
President José D. Padilla, J.D. welcomed students to both commencements and showered undergraduate and graduate students with pride, wisdom, and humor.
“If you live to be 80 years old, the four years that you spent here will constitute 5% of your life. Now that may not sound like a lot in isolation, but I submit to you that 5%, those 1460 days, were the most impactful and consequential of your life,” Padilla said.
Hailing from Chicago’s South Side where he is making a difference in the health of the community, Mark Anderson, M.D., Ph.D. addressed the students as their commencement speaker.
“Regardless of your chosen vocation, at some point in the future, you will likely feel uncertain about your decisions. You will have doubts and wonder whether or not you are on the right path. When that happens, believe in possibility,” Anderson said.
While the commencements marked the end of students’ college education, Padilla recognizes that there is more to school than education. As students were molded by their educational experiences at college, they were also shaped by the creation of long-lasting friendships. Padilla believes that these bonds will continue beyond graduation even as students go their separate ways.
“The friends that you make here will be your friends for the rest of your life. You may not see each other for decades, but when you do they will look to you like the fresh-faced, optimistic men and women who you saw in your core class, or when he or she was your roommate freshman year. 40 years from now, their hairlines will have receded, their waistlines are going to be thicker, but they're going to look the same as they did when you started here,” Padilla said.
In his time at Valparaiso University, Senior Class Representative Lemuel Jeremiah Cartman has seen how community drives good on both an individual and collective basis. He encouraged his fellow students to pave paths of unity with the tools they have acquired and the lessons they have learned.
“There's a famous African proverb that says, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.’ Valpo has shown us no matter how cool we are as individuals, we are better together,” Cartman said. “I think it is the great task of our generation to unite people, to reach gaps across silos but also across race, culture, gender, and even countries to bring people together to create a positive impact with the understanding that we are all a part of a larger community.”
“As we go out into the world to make our greatest difference, we must challenge ourselves to continue to make community, to continue to listen to perspectives, and to continue to bridge gaps,” Cartman said.
For more information about Valparaiso University, visit https://www.valpo.edu/.