Convocation 2019: Student Address

Dear Your Excellency Archbishop Miller, President Meehan, Board Chairman Boscariol, Faculty, Staff, Distinguished Guests, Friends, Family and fellow Graduates:

It is an honour and a privilege to stand before you today to represent the class of 2019: a class made up of diverse individuals from all walks of life, spanning different programs and degrees, each with their own hopes, each with their own story. The road here has been long and arduous full of many ups and downs. Dear graduates, take a deep breath: you are here, you are alive, you are loved.

When reflecting upon the collective experience of our diverse class, I found myself drawn to
an old African proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The image expresses a fundamental reality of the human person: that none of us grow in isolation. And what a fitting image of our time here at the Colleges.

Today is a celebration of academic achievement, yes! But even more so, I believe today is an opportunity for us to recognize that our success is due in large to the love and care of those who have accompanied us on our journey. Today, I cannot help but acknowledge that I am a product of community. And that in community, I have learned what it means to be human.

Perhaps this is where our diverse class finds its common ground. My dear graduates:

  • How many times have we found ourselves relying on each other to get through the semester?
  • How many times have we found ourselves graced with opportunities to go out into the field and build networks with real working professionals?
  • How many times have we found ourselves nourished by the generosity of those who leave us coffee and snacks in Plato’s Cave?
  • How many times have we found ourselves in the office of our professors being met with humility and patience as we helplessly rambled about the infinite number of directions our research paper could go?
  • How many times, in our brokenness, have we found ourselves held by the embrace of our peers?
  • How many times have we found ourselves running to the chapel for refuge and peace, no matter what faith tradition we may come from?
  • How many times have we found ourselves affirmed in our humanity when faculty and staff alike called us by name?

When we take a moment to reflect upon our time, I hope we can recognize the difference this community has made in our formation not only as students and future professionals, but as human beings. Dear graduates, look before you at those who have molded you intellectually. Now turn around and behold those who have rallied behind you.

Today, the entire St. Mark’s and Corpus Christi community acknowledges and celebrates your achievement. All our efforts have led to this moment; now it is time to be sent.

To my fellow Associate of Arts students, wherever we move to next, let us continue to be lifelong learners who “will take on the intellectual, professional, and social challenges of our times.”

To the Bachelor of Arts students, may you strive to be educators who care for every child. May your contemplative model of teaching transform your students and leave lasting legacies.

To the Graduate students, may your studies grounded in the Gospel of Jesus now move you to fervently and faithfully serve those you will minister. For it is when we live in right relationship with God and neighbour that all will know the truth, goodness and beauty of our faith.

We are St. Mark’s and Corpus Christi College.

Formed by community and affirmed in our humanity, let us go guided by the horizon of love to wherever we are called next.

Formed by community and affirmed in our humanity, let us carry solidarity into a world marred by crippling competition and rampant individualism.

Formed by community and affirmed in our humanity, let us leave the Colleges with a commitment to think rigorously, to act justly and to serve faithfully.

Congratulations, graduates of 2019.
Thank you all for your love and support.
And with that may God be glorified.

-John Sangalang, Convocation Student Speaker