When our speaker sat where you graduates now sit in 1978, neither he, nor his friends, nor, I suspect, his teachers or rectors would have imagined that he would someday deliver the Commencement address to future graduates of the University. Yet I believe those closest to him would have seen his passion, his strength of spirit, his talent for leadership and his genuine love for his friends. They would also have known his love for Notre Dame and all that it stands for—a love that has only grown now that he has become the parent of two Notre Dame graduates and a Trustee of the University.
The qualities which define our speaker—passion, strength, leadership and love—became evident to the whole world as he responded to the tragedy of 9/11 almost 20 years ago. Rather than telling you that story, please view the video screen.
Class of 2021, in the past fourteen months life has thrown your way trying circumstances and heartbreaking disappointments. I cannot think of a better speaker for this class than Jimmy Dunne, who has faced daunting challenges and true heartbreak, and prevailed. Class of 2021, I give you Jimmy Dunne.