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Holy Cross Class of 2022 urged to seek light, hope and joy

President Vincent D. Rougeau presents diplomas to graduates of Holy Cross College during the college’s 176th launch held at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts on Friday, May 27, 2022. (Matt Wright for Holy Cross)

Abraham Verghese, MD, delivered the launch speech at the 176th launch of Holy Cross at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts on Friday, May 27, 2022. (Matt Wright for Holy Cross)

College of the Holy Cross 176th Commencement at the DCU Center on May 27, 2022 in Worcester, Massachusetts. (Photo by Michael Ivins/Holy Cross)

Families, friends and members of the Holy Cross community gathered at the DCU Center in Worcester for the 176th launch drills. (Photo by Michael Ivins/Holy Cross)

Class of ’22 valedictorian Rebecca Henion of Danvers, Massachusetts, presents her address. (Photo by Michael Ivins/Holy Cross)

College President Vincent D. Rougeau presents the Heart of St. Ignatius Medal to Hannah Strom on May 27, 2022 in Worcester, Massachusetts. (Photo by Michael Ivins/Holy Cross)

President Vincent D. Rougeau congratulates the Reverend Philip L. Boroughs, SJ, President Emeritus, on his honorary degree May 27, 2022 in Worcester, Massachusetts at the DCU Center. (Photo by Michael Ivins/Holy Cross)

Despite the rain that will inevitably fall on their lives, valedictorian Rebecca L. Henion ’22 told the Holy Cross College class of 2022 that she hopes that, like her, they have learned to seek the hope and light in every situation.

Henion addressed his classmates at the 176th College Commencement Drill, held Friday, May 27 at the DCU Center in Worcester. Thousands of families and friends, faculty, administrators, staff and honored guests of Holy Cross gathered as the College awarded 755 Bachelor of Arts degrees and listened to speakers, including College President Vincent D. Rougeau and Abraham Verghese, MD, infectious disease physician and best-selling author. — and cheered as the graduates graced the debut stage.

The College community joined in a moment of silence in memory of their classmate, the late Grace Rett. They rose to a standing ovation again after Rougeau and Michele Murray, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, honored his classmate Hannah Strom with the Heart of St. Ignatius Medal, which is awarded to a student whose tenacity and example in extraordinary circumstances testify to the legacy of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

In his speech, Henion spoke of the literal storms that have swept over the hills of Worcester and Mount St. James, and the figurative storms that have turned lives upside down, including the heartbreaking loss of Rett in January 2020 and the COVID pandemic. -19, which swept across campus, the greater Holy Cross community and the world.

“It felt like pure thunderstorms at times,” she said. “But what I’ve learned over the past four years is to seek hope and light in every situation – to remember that when the rain is falling, the sun is on the other side. is our Holy Cross community – made up of wonderful, resilient people, all of you – who have carried us through, every time.

“Let’s not forget the gold mine of happy days that we will carry with us forever. We also got more than our fair share,” she continued, citing memories such as packed dorm hallways; voluntary work in the city; the collective sigh of accomplishment after hitting “Submit” in Canvas when an assignment was finally complete; and the close ties forged through student organizations, such as Pride and the Black Student Union.

This resilience, this joy and this sense of community is now part of the story of the Holy Cross class of 2022, the one they began to write the day they entered The Hill and the one they will continue to compose as alumni.

As the class leaves Holy Cross and begins the next phase of their lives, keynote speaker Dr. Verghese asked the graduates to think about how they would define success in their personal stories.

“My advice to you would be: don’t set the bar too high. Don’t live your life waiting for the magic moment when you have particular letters behind your name or have so much in the bank… You and I know too many people, often successful people, famous and accomplished people, whose success is not wasn’t enough to keep them happy. I urge you to define success simply, in a way that you feel joy every day,” he said.

Dr. Verghese shared this definition of success, to which he aspires: “Every day you see and admire the infinite beauty of nature, every day you interact with the people who love you, every day you give something back to others, is a good day, a success.

Having grown up on Holy Cross campus imbued with the Jesuit spirit of living as men and women for and with others, the class already has the framework in which to shape their stories and create their own definitions of what it means to succeed, Dr. says Verghese.

In his remarks to graduates, his first as College President, Rougeau used the analogy of the Holy Cross tradition of opening doors to others to encourage graduates to continue embracing their faith in God, in progress and in humanity.

In this daily act, students and alumni of Holy Cross practice simple courtesy and good manners; take part in a moment of simple humanity; and simultaneously fix their gaze on what is in front and behind.

“It’s a unique vantage point from which we can see yesterday’s failures, today’s needs and tomorrow’s promise,” he said. “Lead, as you were destined to do, inviting others to your journey.”

Prior to the keynote address, Rougeau bestowed honorary degrees on Dr. Verghese and the Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, SJ, 32nd President of Holy Cross and Rougeau’s predecessor.

Friday morning’s ceremony not only capped four years on Mount St. James, but also a week of celebrations for seniors, including the Phi Beta Kappa senior induction and award ceremonies, Baccalaureate Massthe Mosaic graduate celebration and the Last Sunset on The Hill event, where families and friends reunited once again with their soon-to-graduate students on the Hovala favorite place for students on campus.

Writer Mike Bonner contributed to this story.

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