A Time To Celebrate

For Carlow University’s May 12 Commencement ceremony, celebration, fittingly, was the order of the day as more than 350 students walked in the ceremony at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland, but there were also several reminders of what more they could accomplish.

While congratulating the graduates in her address, Suzanne K. Mellon, PhD, Carlow’s president, reminded them that they did not get to this point on their own, and asked them to stand and thank their families, the faculty, and staff at the university. She also issued a challenge: “On this day when we celebrate your academic achievement, I also ask you to look beyond careers and make a commitment to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.”

Devan StankoThat difference can be large or small, graduates were reminded during the student address by one of the three class valedictorians, Devan Stanko, who received Carlow’s highest academic honor, the Joseph G. Smith Award.

“I have realized on multiple occasions that our Carlow University values are just as essential to my career as the textbook knowledge I have gained,” said Stanko, who earned her BSN and related an experience from her nursing clinicals when she calmed a patient by taking the time to talk with him. “My message to you today is to never lose your dedication to making the world a better place. We can practice and promote mercy, service, and hospitality even in the smallest acts of kindness.”

In the Commencement address, Father Gregory Boyle, a Jesuit priest, published author, and the founder and director of Homeboy Industries, Inc., a Los Angeles-based organization, which seeks to employ and train gang members and provide an alternative to gang life, emphasized the need to create a community of kinship in our world today, especially among the people who live at the margins of society.

“You go from Carlow celebrating justice, and go to the margins where some people will say that you are wasting your time,” he said. “But you will also hear the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness. Make those voices heard, and may God bless you.”

Father Boyle received one of three honorary doctorates from the university. The other honorary doctorates were awarded to Colonel Jeannette South-Paul, MD, the Andrew W. Mathieson Professor and Chair of Family Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, and Michele Fabrizi, a Carlow alumna as well as president and CEO of Marc USA, one of the largest independent advertising agencies in the U.S. In keeping with Carlow tradition and with respect to the university’s Catholic heritage, the day began with a Baccalaureate Mass, celebrated by the Most Reverend William J. Waltersheid, Auxiliary Bishop of Pittsburgh, and the oncelebrant was the Reverend Adam M. Verona, Carlow’s chaplain. Father Boyle delivered the homily.


By Drew Wilson

Pictured above: Devan Stanko '18