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Your Light Is Out from Under the Bushel Now!
President Antoinette M. Hays, PhD, RN
May 9, 2014
Graduates, Regis trustees, honored guests, and families and friends of Regis, a leading Catholic university in Greater Boston. Welcome!
My special greetings go to the class of 2015. Look around and you’ll see that Regis is beginning its eighth year as a co-educational undergraduate, athletic championship-winning institution, with Regis men as well as Regis women filling the roster of degree candidates.
In the same period of time, Regis graduate programs have multiplied with conviction and success, making this campus preeminent for empowering men where for more than eight decades women have been and still are professionally empowered.
Look at our honorary degree recipients on this platform today: Karen LaFrazia who received her bachelor’s in social work from Regis, Marjorie Arons-Barron who received her bachelors’ in English from Wellesley College, and Sandra Fenwick who received her bachelor’s in biology and chemistry from Simmons College, three institutions historically dedicated to the higher education of women, and do not underestimate the power of women to transform science, communications, and society, and to bring men into a widening circle of human understanding and achievement.
Together today, you belong to something bigger. With the reception of your degree, your light as women and men of Regis is out from under the bushel, and you may not hide it under a chair or in a mental cupboard, under a culturally specific shawl, or a nondescript baseball cap. Light is light, and you have all earned the authority to carry an intellectual and moral lamp that is universal. That lamp, given to you by your alma mater, is your degree, and it is the collective power of interdisciplinary thinking and the faculty of learning who bring you up and out to shine not only today but henceforth around the region and the world.
Dear Regis graduates, please be fully the person you truly are, whether you are twenty-one or forty-two, whether your roots are in Haiti, Vietnam, Brazil, Ghana, Portland, Maine, Huntington Beach, California, Weston, Florida, or Somerville, Newton, and Lawrence, Massachusetts. But now, in addition to celebrating all of your personal, cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity in the American way, remember that you belong to something bigger, too, and you are responsible for that.
Go ahead and explore cultural heritage, organize communication, teach others, run a business, guide regulatory and clinical research management, and provide health care for the whole human family. In all cases, as educated persons you will also be using your intellectual and moral light to do something else, whether you consciously recognize that or not. You will be glorifying your Creator and sharing your particular professional insights with “excellence tempered by gentleness” as our Sisters of Saint Joseph heritage demands.
Graduates of 2015, commencement, too, is a teachable moment, and I say to you, make the world you choose to enter not the small, narrow place of ego and negativity, but a bigger, better place of community through your ever-widening light of love and intelligence, and Regis, your alma mater, shall always be proud of you.