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The open door

1:57 PM  Jun 17th, 2014
by President Daniel J. Curran

On a beautiful spring afternoon brimming with hope and promise, Father Jim Schimelpfening, S.M., spoke from the pulpit — and the heart — about the journey ahead for our newest graduates.

“Graduation is a moment on that journey,” he told students and their families at the Baccalaureate Mass in the University of Dayton Arena. “Journeys are so powerful. They are sometimes so powerful that they irrevocably change us.”

Alumni and students wouldn’t argue that point. A University of Dayton education transforms you — and prepares you for a changing world.

As I looked out over the sea of happy faces at spring commencement the next morning, I saw joy mixed with a few tears. Each spring, graduating seniors repeatedly tell me, “I can’t believe I’m leaving UD.”

It is hard to leave this great community. Think of the memories. This class will never forget the thrilling Elite Eight run by the men’s basketball team in the NCAA tournament. Other moments are more private, such as helping a child as part of a service project or pushing yourself to go beyond what you even thought possible in the classroom. They are all important.

This annual ritual always reminds me of an Alexander Graham Bell quote, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.”

There is rarely a straight path to happiness. I reminded our graduates that the plans they make today will inevitably need to be adapted. I urged them to remember Blessed William Joseph Chaminade’s words: “Read the signs of the times.” It is a call to be aware of the world around them, move forward and take advantage of opportunities.

The signs aren’t always positive. Sometimes, I told them, it will be easier to ignore the negative signs in our society and focus simply on getting ahead. We must see the bad with the good and try to make a difference. The world’s population faces hunger, overcrowding, disease, war — and more. Global progress requires the efforts, big and small, of people of all nations. It is the responsibility of this class — and all our graduates — to confront the global challenges, to be the ones who care.

I pray that the University of Dayton has educated these new graduates for service, justice and peace — while ensuring that they are prepared for adaptation and change. I trust that they will become community builders, serving as responsible leaders and promoting justice and peace for all persons.

They are ready for the next door. They have secured a great education and are ready to make a difference in the world.

Another door remains open, too — the door back to the University of Dayton. It is a place that will always
be home.

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