Commencement 2002 valedictory speech

Author: Gail Hinchion Mancini

Tim Russert
(Photograph by Linda Dunn)

University of Notre Dame Commencement speaker Tim Russert delivered a heart-felt plea on behalf of the nation’s at-risk children as he addressed the 157th Commencement Sunday (May 19).p. “If we are serious about being the premiere military, economic and moral force in the world, we have no choice. We cannot leave any of our children behind,” said Russert, moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press. “We will need all our children contributing and prospering.”p. Russert urged graduates to make children a special target of their post-graduate outreach. “No matter what profession you choose, you must try, even in the smallest ways, to improve the quality of life of the children in our country,” he said.p. | ||
| Rev. John P. Smyth
(Photograph by Linda Dunn)||
p. Russert’s words were echoed by Laetare Medalist Rev. John P. Smyth, executive director of Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, Ill., and a 1957 Notre Dame graduate, who spoke of the destruction visited on the nation’s children by heroin, crack and cocaine. Maryville Academy is a residence for orphaned and homeless children, and its programs have taken children from the streets to security. Success stories have included children who went on to attend Notre Dame, Smyth said. The Laetare Medal is the oldest and most prestigious honor bestowed annually upon American Catholics.p. More than 2,500 students received degrees including 1,872 undergraduates; 144 master’s and doctoral students in the Notre Dame Graduate School; 314 master’s degree students in the Mendoza College of Business; and 185 Notre Dame Law School students.p. Timothy W. Dolezal, a finance and business economics major from Carroll, Iowa, delivered the valedictory address. Both he and Russert evoked memories of the academic year’s most startling event, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.p. “We can estimate the amount of physical damage from the Sept. 11 tragedy, but we cannot enumerate the sympathy and grief shared by 7,000 people at a mass on the South Quad. We can compile of list of our best friends here, but we cannot place a value on their willingness to help us through our heartbreaks,” Dolezal said.p. As is the tradition, Russert received an honorary degree.p. In addition to Russert, Commencement 2002 honorary degree recipients are:p. ?Margaret Bent, musicologist and senior research fellow at All Souls College, Oxford;p. ? Lord Browne of Madingley, group chief executive of BP Amoco;p. | ||
| Pollack
(Photograph by Linda Dunn)||
?Alfred C. DeCrane Jr., retired chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Texaco, Inc.;p. ? Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Commission for Promoting Christian Unity;p. ?Helen Lieberman, founder and executive director of South African nonprofit organization Ikamva Labantu;p. p. ? Sydney Pollack, motion picture actor, director and producer;p. ? Helen R. Quinn, physicist at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center;p. ? Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain, Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals judge;p. ? William P. Sexton, vice president for University Relations at Notre Dame;p. ? Patrick Toole, retired senior vice president of IBM Corp.; andp. ?Cicely Tyson, Emmy Award-winning actress, activist and humanitarian.p. | ||
| Cicely Tyson and Rev. Edward A. “Monk” Malloy, C.S.C., Notre Dame president.
(Photograph by Linda Dunn)||
p. p. The Text of Tim Russert’s Commencement speechp. The Text of Timothy Dolezal’s valedictory address.

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