Remarks at the 2004 Marymount University Commencement

Washington, D.C. | May 9, 2004

Go forth and conquer the world-- not with guns or just ambition, but with your intelligence, your compassion, your humor, your faith, and your vision for a more promising and peaceful tomorrow!


President Bundschuh, Mr. Sean O'Keefe, Families and Friends of the Graduates Graduates of the Class of 2004:

I thank each of you, especially, today's graduates, for the honor that has been bestowed on me by Marymount University, whose mission it is to foster the intellectual, moral, spiritual, social, cultural, and physical development of each and every one of its students. As I look out upon the faces of eager and spirited people, I can only conclude that the staff of Marymount University has fulfilled its mission exemplified in every one of you who are graduating today.

So it is now your turn to go out and fulfill missions of your own. I hope you will choose missions you find inspiring, important, and challenging. I hope that your choices will help you learn the most important lesson of my own 88 years of training, namely that it's not what you get out of life that counts; it's what you give to others and make happen for others who will truly enrich their lives in meaningful ways.

I have been blessed by the chance given to me to help, lead, and participate in some of the great events and initiatives that have called for peace and justice in the past century: I refer to The Peace Corps; The Job Corps; Head Start; VISTA; Legal Services for The Poor; Foster Grandparents; Neighborhood Health Centers, Upward Bound, and many more famous enterprises.

All these experiences have combined to inspire me to give one small word of advice to each of the graduates: -- Break your mirrors!! And Shatter the glass. In our society, which is so self-absorbed, all of us must begin to look less at ourselves and more at each other. Learn more about the face of your neighbor and less about your own!

You'll get more from being a peacemaker than a warrior. I've been both, so I speak from experience. Break the mirrors.

Be peacemakers of the community and you and your family will be happy!

I hope you remember to believe in the most important things until you die. I hope you remember to be guided by beliefs powerful enough to change the world. I hope you remember the example of The Peace Corps Volunteers, the Head Start parents, the Special Olympics Athletes. They all have learned that each and every individual, in their own way, is capable of waging peace.

You have such a chance! Leaving Marymount today, each of you is called upon to be a peacemaker.

No calling could be higher, no calling could be more needed, and no person could be more qualified to answer that call than each of you. Go forth and conquer the world-- not with guns or just ambition, but with your intelligence, your compassion, your humor, your faith, and your vision for a more promising and peaceful tomorrow! And I pray that you will love every day of your future!