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Faith, Truth Focus of Speakers at UST Commencement

Faith, Truth Focus of Speakers at UST Commencement

Robert P. George spoke on "The Life of Faith and The Moral Life" at the University of St. Thomas 2013 Commencement Ceremony on May 18. He imparted "the basic goods of human nature" to the group of 350 undergraduates and 793 graduate students in Reliant Arena.

Photo by Gary Fountain
Robert George accepts an honorary degree from University President Dr. Robert Ivany.

Photo by Gary Fountain Robert George accepts an honorary degree from University President Dr. Robert Ivany.


HOUSTON, TX (Catholic Online) - George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and founder and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, discussed the newer ideas about vocations and how "the Catholic Church teaches that God has a plan, a calling, a vocation in mind for each of us, and not just for those called to the priesthood and religious life."

"Prayer and other spiritual disciplines - together with our rational powers of inquiry, reflection, understanding and judgment - are the means available to all of us, as gifts from God, to discern what the Lord is calling us to do," George said. "But there is more."

He explains how there is a sense for a Christian faith to be at the center of one's life. He said in situations of significant choosing, it helps one to understand not only which options are morally available, but also which from among the morally available possibilities makes the highest and best use of one's God-given talents. 

"Faith, standing at the center of one's life, enables one to bring one's choices into a more coherent whole-in this sense, faith plays an integrating as well as an architectonic role," he said. 

During the commencement ceremony, Brittany Garza, mathematics graduate and co-founder and president of student club, the Society of Macrina, gave her speech, "Level Up as Leaders of Faith and Character." Weaving a gaming metaphor through her speech, Garza said after investing time and energy into mastering a game, some people don't know what to do, but St. Thomas students are prepared with many options.

"Graduating is different if we take with us the treasure we received at UST," Garza said. "We have received a Catholic education that goes beyond refining the mind, to forming our very souls. At St. Thomas, we were not only taught to seek knowledge but to seek truth."

Garza said if students only take the facts they memorized in class and not the process used to connect the dots, they will we leave college "programmed."

"But we are not programmed, we have been challenged to think," Garza said. "We have been challenged to think so deeply and critically about everything we do and believe. Once we find the truth, we find wisdom and have greater faith in the world and ourselves because truth tells us we can reach our fullest potential and that we, ourselves, are priceless." 

Also during the ceremony, the Rev. Janusz Ihnatowicz, who has been a priest for more than 50 years and is a professor emeritus of theology, received an honorary degree along with George. Dr. Ana-Lisa Gonzalez, director of GRACE and Reading and Catholic Education, received the Rev. Vincent J. Guinan CSB Alumni of the Year Award.

View the entire graduation ceremony and speeches on the University of St. Thomas YouTube Channel: www.stthom.edu/Commencement1  

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The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houstonís only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers.

Keywords: 2013 Commencement, University of St. Thomas, Robert George, Robert Ivany, Brittany Garza, Reliant Arena, Princeton University, Faith, Truth, Society of Macrina, the Rev. Janusz Ihnatowicz, Dr. Ana-Lisa Gonzalez, GRACE



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