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2019 Commencement

Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Class of 2019 Commences Post-College Journey

 Date published: May 30, 2019

2019 GraduationAs parts of North Texas (and most of the central United States) endured a torrential deluge of rainfall, the UD community gathered on the Braniff Mall the morning of Sunday, May 19, to participate in the university’s 60th annual Spring Commencement Ceremony in honor of UD’s newest alumni. More than 500 graduate and undergraduate students from all four schools, including the Constantin College of Liberal Arts, the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts, the Ann and Joe O. Neuhoff School of Ministry, and the Satish and Yasmin Gupta College of Business, quickly filled the empty seats, draped in their respective regalia.

“It is truly a delight to stand before you this glorious morning,” said Provost Jonathan J. Sanford, Ph.D., before imparting a final reflection to UD’s newest graduates. “The University of Dallas as a whole … is a community of learners. Our purpose is to cultivate truth, wisdom and the other virtues in our students. That is why we exist.”  

“We are eager to see you come into your own and set this world ablaze with your great and good life and works.”

— Provost Sanford

“Your alma mater commands you to love and seek diligently truth and justice,” he continued. “Make the grasping, the seeking, the loving of truth your lifelong quest. … Be humble, that you might be magnificent in the way you live and in the great and glorious things you do. … In living magnanimously, you will love truth and justice well, becoming who you are called to be.”

“We are eager to see you come into your own and set this world ablaze with your great and good life and works,” said Sanford.  

The Most Rev. Edward J. Burns, bishop of the Diocese of Dallas and chancellor of UD, offered the opening invocation and formal blessing, followed by greetings from Trustee and National Alumni Board President Andy Farley, BA ’99, Board of Trustees Chairman Thomas Zellers, M.D., BA ’79, and Interim President John G. Plotts, Ed.D. Following the opening remarks, Plotts introduced this year’s commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient Emmet T. Flood, BA '78, Assistant to the President and Special Counsel to the President.

As the 1978 class valedictorian, Intramural Athlete of the Year, and a recipient of UD’s Cardinal Spellman Award, Flood’s commencement speech marked a full-circle homecoming since receiving his philosophy degree at UD decades ago. “The essential thing in ‘heaven and in earth’ is … that there should be long obedience in the same direction,” said Flood, citing the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

He expounded, offering for consideration “a few rules of the road” for his fellow UD graduates:

Rule No. 1: UD has given you the elements of a culture: internalize it, live it, and pass it on.

Rule No. 2: Slow down, take your time, look around, digress.

Rule No. 3: Do not make what the world calls ‘success’ your goal. Instead seek excellence in your personal and professional lives.

Rule No. 4: Obstacles, setbacks, disappointments and sorrows are inevitable: What matters is how you respond.

“Your parents and your UD education have armed you with the necessary tools — habits of mind and character that are authoritative and inspiring, that demand obedience from you, and in that obedience, free you to struggle mightily to attain the Good,” said Flood. “Heureux qui comme Ulysse, a fait un beau voyage. Happy the man who like Ulysses has had a beautiful journey.” 

For the highest cumulative GPA in UD’s Class of 2019, First Honors went to Genevieve M. Frank, BA ’19, and Second Honors went to Aspen Daniels, BA ’19; the Helen L. Corbitt Awards for Excellence were given to Alison R. Pettyjohn, BA ’19, and Theodore J. Morin, BS ’19, for their excellence in academic pursuits, student activities and service to the university; the Ann Heller Maberry Award was presented to Genevieve M. Frank, BA ’19; finally, Sophia J. Andaloro, BS ’19, was awarded the Cardinal Spellman Award for modeling the highest ideals of the university.

The week prior to Commencement at this year’s Convocation, more than 30 departmental honors were awarded to nearly 50 outstanding seniors.